HARARE - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction is said to be preparing to launch an unprecedented media campaign against First Lady Grace Mugabe’s perceived sympathisers from the group calling itself Generation 40, which is opposed to the VP’s ambition of succeeding President Robert Mugabe.
The Daily News was told last night the campaign, using the State media will start today and among those targeted for character assassination are key players in the G40 faction like ministers Saviour Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo, Patrick Zhuwao and Makhosini Hlongwane.
According to high level briefings to the Daily News yesterday, the plan is to unfurl a campaign of “dirty tricks” and “false attacks” against key players in the Zanu PF faction opposed to the embattled Mnangagwa.
Authoritative sources told the Daily News yesterday that a “hit list” had been compiled by a political action committee loyal to Mnangagwa that has been mandated to undermine the credentials of rivals in the Generation 40, which is said to be rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather taking over from Mugabe, who turns 92 next week.
The campaign, our source said, was moving to create wrong impressions through State media about Zanu PF’s Young Turks — the G40 — and will be marked by scurrilous attacks and character assassinations.
The operation was said to be spearheaded by a “top civil servant” who has become a key player in the Zanu PF succession politics.
“Take note that the campaign will start tomorrow (today) in the State media and one of those who will be brutally targeted is Sarah Mahoka especially after she humiliated Mnangagwa.
“ While they can’t touch the First Lady in the State media, they will abuse her in the social media. The target is the first lady but they want to destroy her pillars first. It will be dirty starting tomorrow (today),” said the source.
Our source said the “hit list” also includes businessman and Zanu PF Central Committee member Philip Chiyangwa, Harare South Zanu PF MP Shadreck Mashayamombe and Zanu PF Hatfield losing candidate Acie Lumumba — all loyalists of first lady.
Earlier yesterday, the State media made an insinuation that Jonathan Moyo’s tweeting frenzy is akin to Baba Jukwa — an anonymous Facebook character that stirred up Zimbabwean politics ahead of the 2013 vote.
In a daily blizzard of posts, Baba Jukwa dished out salacious gossip including allegations of rape, murder and corruption by senior officials in Zanu PF — the party of which he claimed to be a member.
Edmund Kudzayi, former editor at the Sunday Mail state newspaper, was accused of running the account but was later acquitted by the courts.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources said Team Lacoste, as the Mnangagwa faction is known, “is only too aware that it cannot match” the G40 in the propaganda war, notwithstanding the fact that the camp now enjoyed unfettered control of State media, hence the mooted plan to destroy its rivals through “unfounded, baseless malice.”
This also comes as Team Lacoste got a savage beating at the politburo meeting on Wednesday.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, who had launched a spirited campaign against Moyo ahead of the Wednesday politburo meeting, was out-manoeuvred even before the meeting got under way and was jeered by supporters.