Chiyangwa, Zhuwao tuck into each other

HARARE - Flamboyant businessman and Zanu PF central committee member, Philip Chiyangwa, yesterday traded barbs with Indigenisation minister and President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, over critical remarks that the latter made on the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), the empowerment lobby group that Chiyangwa founded in 1990s.

In remarks that participants at an indigenisation meeting in Harare interpreted as a direct attack on Chiyangwa, the dreadlocked Zhuwao tore into the AAG and warned its leaders that it was no longer relevant as its founders now appeared to be more interested in politics.

AAG was founded by Chiyangwa, who later plunged into Zanu PF’s politics, leaving younger businesspeople to take charge of the once militant lobby group. And while it has also been said that Chiyangwa is a relative of Mugabe, Zhuwao has previously publicly dismissed this notion, emphasising that the two only share the same Gushungo totem.

“Thank you for inviting me to this important event of an organisation which I used to have a lot of respect for,” Zhuwao said in his written speech.

“AAG represented a vibrancy and dominance in articulating the wishes of young indigenous people. I speak to you today a little saddened that (AAG) founders are no longer active.

“Our entry into politics seems to have been the end of strong indigenisation advocacy. My conversation with you today will advise me on whether I should put a nail in the coffin of indigenisation advocacy,” he added.

Zhuwao also warned the AAG leadership that it was futile to try and come up with resolutions that would be included at the Zanu PF conference later this month, because the party would not entertain them — sentiments which infuriated Chiyangwa who said he would personally take the resolutions to the Masvingo conference.

“I have been given a slot at the conference and so I will be taking your views, don’t worry,” Chiyangwa promised the AAG leadership.

“When you want to change a law to give power to the masses, you find that there are others who fight so that that law does not come into being.

“Look at the fight over the Indigenisation Act. From the time the president intervened, there is a lot of silence. Those that got away with that murder left us in limbo,” he said in a thinly-disguised jab at Zhuwao who courted controversy earlier in the year when he threatened to seize foreign firms over their noncompliance with the Indigenisation Act.

This forced Mugabe, who was on a State visit to Japan at the time, to intervene and publicly rebuke his nephew.

AAG president, Chamu Chiwanza, also dismissed Zhuwao and brandished his remarks as being factionally-driven.

Zanu PF insiders have claimed that Zhuwao belongs to the party’s group of Young Turks who go by the moniker Generation 40 (G40), and who are rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

“When AAG was founded, it was on the recognition of one president, one centre of power and one patron, Robert Mugabe. 

“Now we cannot be seen meddling in politics with our seniors. I want to say this very clearly, we are an organisation that is non-racial in our approach, non-tribal and non-factional in our approach. When it comes to empowerment, we will not be pushed by any force into a factional side,” Chiwanza said.

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