HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, yesterday lashed State daily newspaper, The Herald, and backed Zanu PF women’s league secretary for finance, Sarah Mahoka — who recently undressed embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in front of party bigwigs.
Speaking at a media conference at his Mukwati Building offices in Harare, Zhuwao — who is also Indigenisation minister — said he supported the forthright Mahoka who derided Mnangagwa as a “duck” that was silent while his name was being soiled by party functionaries claiming to be his political agents.
“I would like to borrow from... Sarah Mahoka’s statements when she addressed the Honourable Vice President Mnangagwa on the issue of certain individuals who purport to be acting for and on his behalf.
“Although... Mahoka’s statements were aimed at... Vice President Mnangagwa, I believe that they apply to all leaders conceptually. On my part, I wish to demand that no person should ever speak for and on my behalf on any matter let alone nonsensical factional and successionist agendas.
“I am implementing what... Mahoka has requested of us as leaders, despite my occupying a position within the party which is senior to her position,” he said.
When she confronted Mnangagwa, Mahoka said the Midlands godfather’s seeming reluctance to distance himself from the claims that he wanted Mugabe to step down ahead of the 2018 national elections gave the impression that those campaigning for him had his blessings.
“The VP is my brother and today we are asking you to reprimand people abusing your name. Do not behave like a duck that looks down while its children are being eaten. Stand up and say something like what VP (Phelekezela) Mphoko has done.
“I will say it publicly because I am not afraid to say so, although I know that I am now a target ... tinoona vana vakapfeka ma T-shirts akanzi Team Lacoste (we see youths wearing T-shirts with the Team Lacoste label) and so if you want to be president tell us.
“We also want to know president (Mugabe) if you are the one who sent George Charamba to attack Cabinet ministers that you appointed, because he said he was speaking on your behalf,” Mahoka said then.
In his media engagement yesterday, Zhuwao also moved to distance himself from the Zanu PF faction that is referred to as the Generation 40 (G40) group, adding that he had no knowledge of the “mythical” outfit.
“Consequently, I am therefore placing it on record that contrary to reports and impressions created by certain divisive individuals, and in some cases reported in the media in Zimbabwe, I do not belong to, nor do I subscribe to any factional formation of any kind within Zanu PF.
“I can confidently state that I have absolutely no knowledge of such a formation, nor the declaration of such a group or faction within Zanu PF. There has never been a declaration or statement by myself that there is or that I belong to the so-called G40,” Zhuwao said.
He said the allegations that he was associated with the G40 were “mischievous, malicious” and aimed at undermining him as a minister within the Zanu PF government.
Zhuwao said to demonstrate his commitment to end the media abuse by certain individuals, he was taking legal action against The Herald and its Australia-based columnist Reason Wafawarova, over an article that was published in the newspaper on February 18 this year.
In the article, Wafawarova accused Zhuwao of causing disunity within Zanu PF, while further attacking Mahoka for having openly confronted Mnangagwa.