HARARE - Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was humbled at President Robert Mugabe’s birthday party in his Masvingo provincial stronghold by the rival Generation 40 (G40) faction.
Former provincial chairperson Ezira Chadzamira was listed on the programme to give welcome remarks in his capacity as the provincial chairperson.
But Mnangagwa’s allies were left reeling after political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere thwarted the sly plan. The move had been seen as a futile attempt to underscore that their godfather Mnangagwa was still in control of the province.
Kasukuwere directed at the last minute that the recently installed acting provincial chairperson Amasi Nenjana run the show instead— sidelining Team Lacoste in the process, causing the reeling faction to eat humble pie.
Nenjana gladly grabbed the opportunity and made the most of it by blasting party youths and other officials who had planned to attack First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“You may have heard that there are problems in the province president,” Nenjana said.
“We want to assure you that you have our support, we will not tolerate anyone who disrespects the First Lady, which is why you see us here in our thousands, and we are always behind you and the First Lady.”
Following the suspension of Chadzamira on allegations of insolence and disobeying party directives a fortnight ago, and his subsequent replacement with Nenjana, chaos has ensued as rival factions tussle for power.
Chadzamira was suspended by Kasukuwere.
Claiming to be backed by the province, Chadzamira has refused to accept his suspension, maintaining that his dismissal was unconstitutional, effectively establishing a parallel Team Lacoste provincial executive.
A Masvingo central committee member aligned to Team Lacoste, who spoke to the Daily News in confidence during the celebrations, said the move had dashed their hopes of launching a meaningful resistance against G40.
“What has happened is demoralising because having Chadzamira welcoming the guests would have shown that we are in charge,” he said.
“It shows that we have no capacity to fight back. We have finally realised that Kasukuwere has the president’s blessings and it will be difficult to defy him as the grassroots will feel that they are being made to go against the president which I think very few would countenance. We will see what happens in the next few weeks but I honestly think that the resistance has faltered,” he said.
After their suspension, other Mnangagwa loyalists who include politburo member and MP for Gutu South Lovemore Matuke accused Kasukuwere of abusing his position.
“We are left with two weeks to host the 21st February Movement and we hear someone saying the cow that is leading the pack in those preparations be taken to the abattoir, that is not right. We don’t want people who abuse their positions in the party to cause disharmony and disunity among us,” Matuke said.
Former politburo member Paul Mangwana also backed Chadzamira saying Kasukuwere should from his own party.
“I am prepared to be fired for the truth. As politburo members, we were pained after the Chiweshe meeting, those who feel more special than others should leave Zanu PF and form their own party,” Mangwana said.