HARARE - The Zanu PF war over President Robert Mugabe’s 92nd birthday bash to be held in Masvingo on Saturday continues unabated — amid claims that the party faction rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations is still planning to scuttle the event.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News yesterday that as a result, authorities had effected a heavy security presence in the province, in anticipation of potentially bloody conflict between Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) and the party’s Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40).
“We know for sure that there are some people who were sent to destabilise the president’s birthday. However, we are not too worried because there is nothing that they can do to us,” Zanu PF interim chairperson for Masvingo, Amassa Nenjana, told the Daily News yesterday.
Mugabe’s birthday bash comes in a fortnight filled with drama, which has included war veterans receiving a severe battering by police — leading to Mugabe savagely shellacking their former leader Christopher Mutsvangwa in a televised address to the nation, in which he also apologised to the ex-combatants.
Zanu PF sources told the Daily News that the atmosphere in both Masvingo town and the province was tense.
“The political climate is not good. The security is very tight, which clearly shows that all is not well in the party ahead of the president’s birthday bash,” one of the sources said.
Zanu PF political commissar for Masvingo province Jappy Jaboon said they were going to slaughter more than 54 beasts to cater for an estimated crowd of about 50 000 people expected at the birthday bash.
The claimed sabotage of Mugabe’s birthday bash was first exposed by Zanu PF deputy secretary for the youth league Kudzai Chipanga — who is also a politburo member.
Speaking to youths in Bindura last week, Chipanga sensationally claimed that pamphlets were being distributed around the country with the false message that Mugabe’s birthday celebrations had been cancelled.
“They are writing some pamphlets saying that the president’s birthday bash has been cancelled, but we are saying that the event is going ahead in broad daylight as scheduled, whether you like it or not,” he said.