Mnangagwa hits back at Mphoko

HARARE - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, took the war to his counterpart — Phelekezela Mphoko — who, on Tuesday, came just short of accusing him of lying, saying the veteran diplomat was trying to cause alarm and disunity in the ruling Zanu PF party, the Daily News can report.

As the factional wars in Zanu PF escalate to levels never seen before, President Robert Mugabe’s two deputies have crossed swords over an alleged poisoning incident that occurred in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, on August 12.

Late Tuesday evening, Mphoko, who was the acting president in Mugabe’s absence, issued a statement accusing Mnangagwa of being economical with the truth over the incident, which has worsened the friction in Zanu PF.

Mphoko implied that Mnangagwa had lied to his audience in Gutu during a memorial service held for the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Shuvai Mahofa, that he was poisoned while attending a Zanu PF youth interface meeting addressed by Mugabe in the Matabeleland South provincial capital.

The former Zapu cadre also accused his counterpart of undermining the authority of the president — a serious offence in the governing party.

Mnangagwa came out guns blazing yesterday to hit back at Mphoko.

In a statement issued late last night, the ex-guerrilla fighter said he would never rebel against Mugabe while expressing grave concerns over Mphoko’s utterances.

“It is thus, very disturbing that my colleague . . . Mphoko who is a trained cadre and veteran of the struggle, would issue a statement, which goes against the spirit and grain of our national Constitution and the principles, which is further alien to the revolutionary ethos, culture and decorum of our party Zanu PF,” said Mnangagwa.

“It is further disconcerting that the statement is littered with subjective falsehoods, mischievous perceptions and malicious innuendos written in a language and tone which is disrespectful and contemptuous to my person and indeed to the office I occupy,” he added.

The former Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe legislator, who was appointed to his post by Mugabe in 2014 following the ousting of former vice president Joice Mujuru, also accused Mphoko of being “bent on causing alarm, disunity and despondency amongst peace-loving Zimbabweans” with an agenda known only to himself.

The Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister, who has survived several attempts on his life, also insisted that he had been poisoned.

“During the ordinary session of the politburo held on 6 September, 2017 and the ordinary session of the central committee held on 8 September . . . I informed the meeting that my doctors had said that I was not food-poisoned. I did not state that poison had been ruled out. It is most disappointing that a person at the level of my colleague . . . Mphoko would misunderstand and misrepresent the statements made by . . . Mugabe, and myself,” said Mnangagwa.

In his statement on Tuesday, Mphoko had said Mnangagwa was lying that he had been poisoned.

“Over the weekend, and apparently using the background of unproven but persistent allegations and claims that the late national heroine Shuvai Mahofa was poisoned at the Zanu PF people’s conference in Victoria Falls in 2015, VP Mnangagwa told an emotionally-charged memorial service for Cde Mahofa in Gutu that what happened to her in 2015 in Victoria Falls, is also what happened to him on August 12 in Gwanda. Contrary to his statement, his medical doctor, while briefing President Robert Mugabe in the presence of Mnangagwa, confirmed that Vice President Mnangagwa was not poisoned”.

“At the Gweru presidential youth interface rally . . . Mugabe revealed that, three days earlier, he had met with Mnangagwa’s medical doctor in the presence of Mnangagwa and that the doctor, who has been attending to Mnangagwa for 20 years, told the president that his long standing patient had not been food-poisoned.

“It will be recalled that on the eve of the Midlands presidential youth interface rally held in Gweru on September 1, 2017, Vice President Mnangagwa issued a statement categorically stating that he did not eat any ice cream in Gwanda. This was after widespread false claims that he had been poisoned after allegedly eating ice cream from Gushungo Dairy,” said Mphoko in a statement that was released by his office late on Tuesday night.

Throughout his statement, Mphoko referred to his counterpart only as Mnangagwa, something his counterpart certainly took exception with.

Mugabe has also dismissed the notion that Mnangagwa was food poisoned.

He apparently based his conclusions on meetings he had with his deputy’s medical doctors.

In Mugabe’s absence, Mnangagwa and Mphoko rotate as acting presidents.

Mphoko is linked to the Generation 40 faction while Mnangagwa has behind him the Team Lacoste faction.

The factions emerged as a result of the jostling to succeed Mugabe, who turns 94 next year.

Political analysts have warned of possible bloodbath amid indications that Mugabe could be the one who is behind Mnangagwa’s woes.

South Africa-based political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said for now, Mnangagwa has stakes raised against him and he might face the same fate which befell his predecessor Joice Mujuru unless he fights back and now fighting back he is.

“Mphoko’s statement and Mnangagwa’s lawsuit against Moyo, show clearly that a decisive factional showdown is imminent and indications are that Mugabe may not be on Mnangagwa’s side. Mnangagwa has to fight or risk losing everything,” said Mavhinga.

On the other hand, United Kingdom political expert Stephen Chan said although Zanu PF is far from collapsing, the ruling party’s dominance in close to four decades is now in danger.

“Certainly . . . Mphoko’s statement reveals an intensification of in-fighting within Zanu PF, but the party is far from collapsing. The Zimbabwean economy will collapse first and, if the party is seen to have prioritised its internal feuds over and above the needs of the country and its people, then the party will be in danger from the outside not the inside. Can President Mugabe control this anymore? He can when he’s inside the country. It’s a case of when the cat’s away, the mice come out to play,” said Chan.

Despite the widening cracks in Zanu PF — the party’s spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo on Tuesday claimed that relations between Mugabe and his deputy are still normal and dismissed any likelihood of a split.

In a statement that was apparently provoked by the Daily News story “Mugabe, ED fight . . . Zanu PF headed for split” the former revolutionary party spokesperson Khaya Moyo accused the media of championing regime change.

“You may agree that the story infers that the relationship between . . . Mugabe and . . . Mnangagwa has gone unsavoury and is almost severed,” said Khaya Moyo in a statement issued yesterday.

While the Mugabes have lambasted the provinces of Midlands and Masvingo for being cradles of factionalism that threaten the foundations of Zanu PF, Mnangagwa said over the weekend that the provinces are sovereign and are free to pursue tribal politics “by standing with one of their own”.

But that was apparently lost to Khaya Moyo, who claimed in the statement that the relations between Mnangagwa and Mugabe are still “solid” notwithstanding the public shellacking of the former and also humiliations by Grace.

Comments (6)

hamheno

g40 - 6 October 2017

mutambo watsvuka ropa! taamu90+4 minutes maanje! inomwiswa apa haidzori, kkkkkkkk!

SaManyika Chaiye - 6 October 2017

ED is not being truthful, he is trying to be clever. When he fell ill it was immediately reported that he was poisoned then Bob said the doctors have confirmed that he was not poisoned. He issued a statement saying he did not partake of ice-cream but the stories of him being poisoned kept being promoted by his Lacoste surrogates. With that background he also knew that Mahofa was said to have been poisoned in Vic Falls and this was widely reported and not denied. So to then claim that he was saying the similarity was not on the cause but on the illness and places treated is disingenuous. The people who heard him in Gutu and on TV who knew about the demise of Mahofa understood exactly what he meant and its not the polava that he is now trying to claim.

Galore - 6 October 2017

The doctor ruled out FOOD poisoning.however a person can be poisoned by various other ways

Engineer - 6 October 2017

ndakazvitaura kare ndikati kupururudza kwamuri kuita vakuru Joice achitandanisirwa mhosva yamakamurongera iye asina kuipara ndokupurudzirwa kwamuchaitwa mava kusvaiwavo,imi nokusavona mukati joice zvaaenda ini panyanga pfe.musatamba nagushungo kanenge kari ziii kachitaima yese ikuitika

gara - 6 October 2017

I don't know why ED is harping on about. From my understanding of the situation, the doctors ruled out food poisoning as a cause of his sickness. However, on further tests, I understand they found traces of palladium. I think this is where ED is taking his poisoning cue from. But the facts are that traces of palladium can be found in various people and that cannot be misconstrued as poisoning. Also palladium poisoning doesn't result is instant illness or death. Therefore this rules out the fact that he was poisoned at the Gwanda rally. He may have been poisoned way earlier but ED must explain this to his audience so they can understand. I think this is what is causing the confusion. Having said that I have no time for murderers like ED and his charlatans.

Inyika - 6 October 2017

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