Shocker as Zanu PF factions fight over coffee mug

HARARE - Zanu PF’s ugly and seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and succession wars are increasingly taking bizarre turns as well — with the latest flashpoint for the troubled former liberation movement’s two major camps being a coffee mug!

So mortified was a party bigwig who spoke to the Daily News yesterday, as the coffee mug brawl escalated over the past three days, that he described both Zanu PF and party bigwigs as “petty and an embarrassment” to the country.

“I am distressed by what’s happening in our once-glorious party. I even had a cousin of mine who is in the Diaspora calling me yesterday (Tuesday) to establish whether indeed we were fighting over a cup, in a country facing so many serious national problems on the political and economic fronts,” the angry senior Zanu PF official said.

At the centre of the astonishing brawl — now cheekily referred to in some Zanu PF circles as “Cupgate” — are weekend images of Vice President Emmerson FROM P1

Mnangagwa holding a coffee mug inscribed with the words “I am the boss”.

This saw the Midlands godfather’s Zanu PF enemies going to town and interpreting, rightly or wrongly, the pictures as confirmation of the VP’s mooted presidential aspirations and his Team Lacoste faction’s alleged plot to take power irregularly.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday expressed mixed views about the pictures, with many of them saying the furore over “Cupgate” merely manifested the fact that Zanu PF’s succession wars were worsening and becoming more intractable.


Mnangagwa holding the coffee mug inscribed "I am the boss".

Afghanistan-based analyst Maxwell Saungweme said Zanu PF had become “a theatre for political comedy, considering this noise that has been created by a mere coffee mug”.

“In a serious nation, those pictures would not be read to mean anything. But in Zimbabwe, a nation in constant need for both humour and conspiracy theories, the pictures are being read to mean that he (Mnangagwa) knows that he is the real boss in a country where the current president is 92 years old and no longer in control.

“The pictures can also be taken to mean that he (Mnangagwa) is aware of the fact that the emperor will soon be departing and he (the VP) will soon be in charge,” he said.

University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said the Mnangagwa pictures could be interpreted in a number of ways, just like the way musician Jah Prayzah’s song Mudhara Vachauya (whose meaning, loosely translated, is that the boss or old man will come) had been interpreted.

“Assuming that there is a political angle to it, Mnangagwa is sending a message that he is the ultimate winner in the struggle to succeed Mugabe.

“He, however, can use one of the various interpretations to the message to deny that he wants to take over. It is unlike Mnangagwa to come out in the open and declare his interests, as he prefers to have other people doing this for him,” he said.

The respected analyst also said that it appeared Mugabe’s shrill calls for Zanu PF members not to abuse social media had fallen on deaf ears, as the party’s succession wars were playing out “loud” on social media.

Yet another analyst believes that Mnangagwa’s pictures meant that he had finally decided to come out in the open, to challenge for power in Zanu PF, ahead of next year’s crucial national elections.

“I think he (Mnangagwa) and those around him are getting more impatient. They have waited for Mugabe to show the way, but realise that he has no intention of retiring. They realise that he may have to be nudged,” UK-based and Kent University Law School lecturer, Alex Magaisa, said.

“Mnangagwa is not getting any younger, and if Mugabe runs and wins in 2018, by the time he finishes his term Mnangagwa will be an octogenarian and his chance may have gone.

“I don’t think he is prepared to wait and pass the chance of a lifetime to be president. His lieutenants who have an eye on the prize and associated benefits certainly can’t wait,” the former advisor to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said further.

Another political analyst, Dewa Mavhinga, said people must not read “too much” into the matter as the Midlands godfather’s presidential ambitions were “obvious and known”.

“Since the liberation war days, when Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s personal assistant, it was known that he had ambitions to climb higher. The only challenge is that Mugabe has not vacated the highest office for the last 36 years,” Mavhinga said.

A senior Zanu PF official told the Daily News late last year that the alarming escalation in the party’s deadly factional and succession wars over the past few months represented a desperate “final push” to take all the spoils by the two main camps in Mugabe’s bitterly-divided former liberation movement, .

“Listen, we are well past the stage where comrades in the opposite camps can be expected to act rationally. One camp now has to lose and be destroyed completely for this (the wars) to end, like what happened to (former vice president and now Zimbabwe People First leader Joice) Mujuru’s group.

“Neither Zacc (the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) nor the courts can conceivably be expected to end this war until the succession issue is resolved through the defeat of one of the factions.

“They are now in a final push of sorts, to borrow an MDC expression. In fact, Zacc and the courts have become the new theatres for the fatal brawl,” the consistently reliable bigwig said.

Other analysts and Zanu PF insiders have also told the Daily News previously that they feared a complete implosion of the former liberation movement, as well as the imminent eruption of intra-party political murders.

Academic Ibbo Mandaza said “the implosion of Zanu PF is now complete”, adding, “it is ominous in terms of the party’s factionalism and its implications. The factional fights have now become very antagonistic”.

Political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo said then that the succession wars which were devouring the ruling party had reached “a decisive phase where it is now dog-eat-dog”, with no more “pretence” on both sides of Zanu PF’s bitter factional divide that all was well in the former liberation movement.

“It’s now crunch time in terms of Zanu PF’s deadly succession politics. It is truly gloves off now. The party’s elite consensus has irretrievably broken down and it is now dog-eat-dog,” she added.

Masunungure said it was clear that “the centre can no longer hold in Zanu PF”.

A Zanu PF politburo member said the party was “in tatters” and that its mindless tribal, factional and succession bloodletting had now turned into “a zero-sum game” as its bitterly-opposed combatants savaged each other to the death.

“Honestly speaking, I cannot see where we can go from here as a party. This could be it for the party as we know it. Everyone can see that the nightmare season of long knives is getting bloodier by the day and no one appears to have the appetite and capacity to stop this horror show.

“Zanu PF is in tatters and the (factional and succession) fights have become a fatal zero-sum game, a deadly fight in a tunnel where the only outcome possible is death for all. Who will be next?” the anguished bigwig asked ruefully, echoing the sentiments of many in the troubled party.

“I have said to you before that things are not looking good and I think they took a turn for the worse over the past few days. Many comrades are noting the fact that whereas previously, people pointed fingers elsewhere and found scapegoats among Gushungo’s (Mugabe’s) lieutenants for Zimbabwe’s problems, now they are looking squarely at him.

“Indeed, this current crisis is very different from anything that Zanu PF has had to deal with since Herbert Chitepo was murdered in Zambia and (Ndabaningi) Sithole was kicked out of the party in the 1970s.

“In fact, many people fear that Gushungo now faces more or less the same challenge that Ndabaningi faced in the 1970s. This is why some comrades believe it could be ‘mene, mene, tekel, parsin’,” another source said.

The biblical quote “mene, mene, tekel, parsin” is found in the Old Testament where words appeared on the wall during Belshazzar’s Feast (Daniel 5:25), and which were interpreted by the prophet Daniel to mean that God had doomed the kingdom of Belshazzar.

Comments (22)

The final implosion can't happen soon enough. And the country will be the richer for it.

Good riddance - 5 January 2017

ha ha lizard rattled by this mug-gate fiasco is now running underneath the rocks seeking cover issuing statements . Absolute nauseating sycophancy. This is the future of Zimbagwe?

Galore - 5 January 2017

Let it be a really vendetta who cares?, the fact is that Mugabe must resign or risk destroy his legacy . This Mugabe is a really dictator without advisors , he is just by himself and big for nothing . Almost 93 years old but still dying his head black and acting like a boy , what a big hell ??????

Khalabemgeza - 5 January 2017

Mr Lacoste Ngwena , you are caught with your pants down , better watch out , being so ambitious and uncontrollable will cost you more , watch out , Grace is coming back soon or you want her to shorten her leave ?

Khalabemgeza - 5 January 2017

It's amazing how Zimbabweans keep falling to some of the oldest tricks in the book. Even politicians. This trick has been used by many politicians to expose their enemies. Munangagwa knows what he is doing. He knows that the picture would have many people comment. What he wants is to fish out his real enemies. He needs to know who is and who isn't on his side. So he is using these tactics to make his enemies float. Take the mug and his recent disowning of Mutsvangwa. He knows the effect this will have, people will comment, some even the louder. In the process he ends up being the winner. He ends up exposing his true enemies. This man is finally going for the kill.

Bhomba - 5 January 2017

This is a storm in a teacup

Jonga - 5 January 2017

Its really nothing.Yu are the pple creati g mountains from mole hill.Vp wants a united Zanu.He wants warvets back into zanu wth or wthout Mutsvangwa.He wants G40 to follow party rules n regulations.He can see wthout a united zanu 2018 will be a hardball.If oppostion is uniting then Zanu has to.Who else can unite zanu? VP.He is second in command in Zanu and state.Mutsvangwa is merely being told by vp to follow party lines.He is a warvet ,falling under military structures.Gen Chiwenga is his boss then vp ,then president.Mutsvangwa s politics was outside military regulations.Thats unacceptable in military.Vp is not kicking him totaly out but telling him and his executive to make amends for reentry into party structures.Thats good politics.Warvets cannot fight outside Zanu.Vp will initiate warvets re engagement.

viola gwena - 6 January 2017

If you drop one "s" and re-arrange the remaining letters in "boss" right to left you get SOB which can be cause for laughter or consternation, depending on your make-up!! I'm for the former...

Sagitarr - 6 January 2017

Tete Viola you are a master in public relations for your Ngwena.Is that really true .Does Ngwena believe in that.Never the less I admire your thinking.

youthman - 6 January 2017

@viola,the issue here is about the Mug not Mutswangwa

justsaying - 6 January 2017

@Viola , all manipulation from you , you are reminding me of Boxer and Snowball at Animal farm, one used to say Napoleon is always right even if things were turning amiss . Mnangagwa has caused a huge vendetta at ZANU PF through being so ambitious , for him to turn his back at the warvets who had been backing him up for so long is already to late and the unrepairable damage is already done . Guess what ?, Mutswangwa and other warvets have got an alternative route to join hands with the opposition parties for a grand coalition and that would further destroy ZANU PF particularly at this crucial juncture towards the 2018 elections . ZANU PF will loose 2018 elections and your wishes to see Mnangagwa leading this country are just about to be dethroned. G40 will overcome Mnangagwa now since he is no longer backed up by the warvets , this Mnangagwa of yours is very unwise , stupid and drinking in public , check the table with dirty stuff, BOSS my dirty foot . Ungumbulali lo , lamanje kulezintandane ngenxa yakhe legugurahundu yakhe , kambe ayefela kude le .

Khalabemgeza - 6 January 2017

@Viola Gwena you are off topic, completely out ofnline. You are just pushing your agenda due to mere obsession with Mnangagwa. Anyone related to ZANU is going down the drain together with the party in 2018.

Mentalist - 6 January 2017

Viola Gwena is a typical ZANU pf member. Look at Mugabe, he gave a wrong speech in Parliament, instead of looking at economic issues affecting people focus has been given on succession issues. This article is about politicisation of a mug & now Viola is talking about Mutsvangwa. What is wrong with ZANU pf & its members?

Mentalist - 6 January 2017

Bob created zanu & he will die with it. He was the brains behind the split out of ZAPU in 1963 initially used Trojan horses like Sithole to be the figurehead and when the time came he used his same foot soldiers he used to create zanu to dispose of the leadership from Sithole, Chitepo and then Tongo. Everyone who could have challenged him have been neutralised and all the people in zanu owe their place or station to him. None of these people have political capital or brain of their own. George Charamba was even bragging that all the zanu people owe their political existence to Mgabe and that none of the zanu MPs know or understand how they 'won' the seats they won in the last election & one day when he gets too excited he will let them know.

Lt General - 6 January 2017

This Viola Gwena person epitomises what is wrong with the political climate & actors in Zimbabwe and how such degenerate views are held as the norm in zanu and other regressive organisations. Zimbabwe will never prosper if people with such views are in power or influencing those in power. What military structures? The military is an organ of state and any sensible person will know that the military like all arms of the state should be above party politics. Yes Chiwengwa et al are allowed to hold political views to themselves but as professional soldiers it is Zimbabwe the state that they protect and not zanu and its factional fights. This mish-marsh where zanu bastardises state institutions to mirror its own kleptocracy is part of the reason why there is poverty of ideas within zanu to move the country forward & why Zimbabwe is economically poor and socially a tinderbox .

Lt General - 6 January 2017

Its Mutsvangwa.Yo hatred of Zanu is all muddled up and lacks reason.Yu shuldnt dislike the idea of a united Zanu under Mugabe and Mnangagwa and yet yu applaud the unity of Mdc.This thinking and partisan reasoning does not help our country.I personally want a united Mdc under Tsvangirai or Mujuru or Ncube.This will enhence our political platform.Good competition is always productive.But yu desire a situation whr Zanu must just vanish from the face of earth,maybe even by force.Tats dangerouse thinking,foolish also because the repacations can be dire.Voting is the only way to change governments,only thru voting which we should all take part thru campaining for different ideas.Tribal and racist thinking has never brought out anything good.Its unGodly .Leadership belongs to God and he loves all of us,ndebeles,shonas ,whites ,zulus, its our heritage.I like Welshman ,an astitute political businessman.I like him not becoz he is ndebele but a person designed for leadership.SIMPLE.

viola gwena - 6 January 2017

The blind "reasoning" of Zanu PF stalwarts emanates from the fact that its entire membership is not at the receiving end of their violence, dishonesty, greed and cruelty. The sad part is, with a comatose economy life becomes unbearable even for those "in power" - useless "power", stupid "power"...

Sagitarr - 7 January 2017

The blind "reasoning" of Zanu PF stalwarts emanates from the fact that its entire membership is not at the receiving end of their violence, dishonesty, greed and cruelty. The sad part is, with a comatose economy life becomes unbearable even for those "in power" - useless "power", stupid "power"...

Sagitarr - 7 January 2017

I think Munangagwa is too confident maybe MUDHARA SHARED A PIECE OF THE CAKE WITH HIM BUT MY ADVICE SLOW DOWN MR NGWENA THE FLOODS ARE MAY SCOOP YOU OFF THE RIVER

meluse Pilime - 9 January 2017

Ngwena has done nothing wrong to anyone ,is it not that the mug he got was a gift from someone.MAY BE YOUR IDEA, you guys is that the mug was parceled out by a G40 insider plotting to tweet Ngwena out of the succession matrix.to warn you guys dot under estimate Ngwena,s capabilities he has came a long way.the Gukurahundi issue is not for Ngwena to blame,we do not promote banditry in as country that has fought a protracted war of liberation only for others to make flimsy demands at the expense of the country,going forward,stalling development ,killing commercial farmers by way of high profile killings in a desperate bid to expose government.the military had to put things in order through strategic raids to flush out the extremists.the country needed normalcy nor barbaric acts of sabotage experienced on that part of the country.who is responsible for the desposession of the shona cattle,grain,trafficking of young boys and beautfull girls by the matebele army?,whom do we blame ?.

vivazim - 10 January 2017

wena vivazim wake walibonangaphi ishona elihle ngaphandle kwama mixer eliwatihola ngokulala lemihlobo emihle lenkomo zenu ezingange nja. lokhe ulengqondo zamakhiwa akuqambela amanga. mbulali lomuntu wakho oyisidakwa lenkomitsho yakhe leyo.

anti vivazim - 10 January 2017

Do you know what boss means- BUCKET OF STINKING SHIT

jeke nishen - 11 January 2017

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