G40, Team Lacoste tuck into each other

HARARE - Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars are getting more intractable by the day, with the two main party camps going at each other hammer and tongs in Mashonaland Central yesterday.

The Daily News learnt last night that angry allies of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who apparently wanted to pass a vote of no confidence in the volatile province’s party chairperson, Dickson Mafios, may now even be facing the chop after the tables were allegedly turned against them by their Generation 40 (G40) foes at a tense meeting in Bindura yesterday.

At the heart of the ructions were the province’s recommendations to the party’s annual conference in Masvingo next month that its vice presidents must be elected, as is the case with the position of president, and that the former liberation movement must make a woman one of President Robert Mugabe’s two deputies.

The sources who spoke to the Daily News said Zanu PF’s embattled national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, even had to swiftly intervene in the chaos — as Team Lacoste (the Mnangagwa faction) bayed for Mafios’ head, claiming that the contentious proposals were aimed at stymying the presidential ambitions of the Midlands godfather.

“The meeting started at 10am and after Mafios was harassed and heckled endlessly by Team Lacoste, Kasukuwere came in and took over ... some youths also stood up and defended Mafios saying that they were the ones who had made the resolutions. It was dramatic because all the attendees were asked to pronounce their views on the resolutions and all accepted the resolutions,” one of the sources said.

Another source claimed that those who might be dragged to the party’s provincial disciplinary committee included legislators Kazembe Kazembe (Mazowe West), Remigious Matangira (Bindura South), Chris Chitindi (Muzarabani South) and Albert Mufunga (Muzarabani North.

The second source added that although Kasukuwere had emphasised that the two contentious resolutions were targeted for implementation only in 2019, there was allegedly a strong lobby within Zanu PF to hold an extra-ordinary congress next year it was expected that the G40 would move to “annihilate” Team Lacoste and “deal” with Mnangagwa, with the G40 confident that it had the numbers to achieve this.

This was said to be more so after Mugabe pointed out last week that there were people in the party who wanted him dead — with G40 insiders saying this was allegedly a pointed reference to Team Lacoste.

Mashonaland Central province is said to be Kasukuwere’s stronghold, with the Local Government minister also strongly linked to the G40, which is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

Other insiders told the Daily News last week that Mashonaland Central’s proposals were the G40’s fightback plan, aimed at both pushing back the Mnangagwa faction and exploiting popular sentiment within the party’s key women’s league, which has until recently been loudly agitating for one of the party’s VP posts to be given to women before the end of this year.

However, the women’s league recently announced that it had shelved such plans until 2019 when Zanu PF holds its congress.

Political analysts said yesterday’s G40’s softening of its proposals was tactical, after it possibly realised that its strategy could backfire.

“This could be a tactical retreat by G40 who may have realised that their strategy has no traction in the party. But this must not be taken to mean they have accepted defeat. They could yet spring a surprise on the Mnangagwa faction which appears to be on the rise in the pendulum politics of Zanu PF factions,” rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga told the Daily News.

Over the past few months, the G40 group has been at the receiving end of a savage and unrelenting mauling at the hands of Team Lacoste which has also been demanding that the nonagenarian ditches their alleged kingpins, Jonathan Moyo and Kasukuwere.

The duo stands accused by war veterans of allegedly sowing seeds of discord in the ruling party, imposing candidates, abusing social media to spew party secrets and to badmouth party bigwigs, as well as allegedly working to drown and sideline party officials perceived to be allies of Mnangagwa.

But in the aftermath of Mugabe’s intervention in the factional wars last week, Mashonaland Central province, an alleged stronghold of the G40, launched a renewed assault on Team Lacoste — aggressively re-introducing the divisive debate about the need for a woman to become one of Zanu PF’s two vice presidents.

Analysts also said the decision by Mashonaland Central to push for the divisive clause, as well as the subsequent public backing by Moyo of the move, suggested that this had the tacit encouragement of a higher authority, given that Mugabe did not tolerate dissent.

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