A rival Zanu PF faction is plotting public protests against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as he continues to feel the political heat following his remarks that the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo lost the 1980 elections because he served white interests\r\nMOSES MATENGA/XOLISANI NCUBE\r\nEmmerson mnangagwa p1\r\n\r\nSupporters of a faction opposed to Mnangagwa have reportedly printed T-shirts branded “In memory of the late Father Zimbabwe Dr J Nkomo” to register their displeasure at the VP’s recent attack on the late nationalist and are set to wear them today at the official opening of the third session of the eighth Parliament, as Zanu PF infighting gets to a head.\r\n\r\nParty insiders said the T-shirts protest was part of a grand scheme to isolate Mnangagwa and frustrate his efforts to succeed President Robert Mugabe.\r\n\r\nMugabe will officially open the Parliament session around midday today.\r\n\r\nA group allegedly linked to the ruling party’s Young Turks is believed to have printed thousands of the T-shirts to send a clear message to Mnangagwa that Nkomo was a national hero and any attempt to deprecate his legacy was not welcome.\r\n\r\nThe message on the back of the T-shirts reads: “The unity that shall never collapse . . . Munhu wese kuna Amai” (Everyone to Grace Mugabe), again a statement, party insiders said, indicated who could be behind the protest.\r\n\r\nAlthough the First Lady has publicly distanced herself from the succession race and has said her relationship with VPs Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko was cordial, party insiders said she might use the political gaffe by Mnangagwa to curry favour with people from Nkomo’s Matabeleland region.\r\n\r\nIn a recent interview with New Africa Magazine, Mnangagwa said in 1980 former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith told him Mugabe had won the elections because he served black interests, while Nkomo, the late James Chikerema, Ndabaningi Sithole and others served white interests.\r\n\r\nHis utterances have received wide condemnation from political players from the both Zanu PF and those who closely worked with the late Nkomo, known as Father Zimbabwe.\r\n\r\nNkomo’s family has registered its displeasure at the suggestions by the Vice-President and said such statements foment disunity.\r\n\r\nZanu PF insiders said the T-shirts are a campaign to force Mnangagwa – whose relationship with the Matabeleland region has never been rosy due to his alleged involvement in the Gukurahundi massacres– to apologise for the statement against Nkomo.\r\n\r\n“The statement Munhu Wese KunaAmai and those pictures are telling a story that he (Mnangagwa) is isolated and to force to him to apologise.\r\n\r\n“People are fighting and the fight will mark the political downfall of someone, I don’t know who will win this one,” a source said.\r\n\r\nPolitburo member Jonathan Moyo wrote on Twitter saying suggestions Nkomo was a sellout were “offensive and unacceptable”.\r\n\r\nAlthough Mnangagwa has remained mum on the matter, his supporters have accused the G40 of exhibiting “Gamatox” tendencies (a term used to describe the faction led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru) and being divisive.\r\n\r\nA columnist writing in the State media last week defended Mnangagwa saying the allegations were unfounded.\r\n\r\n“I went over the interview twice, but could not find anywhere where the allegations were mentioned,” he wrote.\r\n\r\nThe T-shirts protest comes after a failed demonstration by party members, reportedly linked to Mnangagwa, against Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, said to be a member of G40 and who is accused of being divisive and exhibiting unbridled ambitions.\r\n\r\nThe anti-Kasukuwere protests were reportedly being co-ordinated by war veterans and some youths linked to Mnangagwa.\r\n\r\nThe group wanted to hand over a petition to Mugabe demanding the Local Government minister be relieved of his party post.\r\n\r\nWar Veterans’ leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa last week also demanded Kasukuwere apologise for describing freedom fighters as drunkards, as infighting continues unabated.\r\n\r\nEfforts to get a comment from Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo on whether the party was aware of the T-Shirts, drew a blank.\r\n\r\nKasukuwere on Monday said he was not aware of the existence of the T-shirts or the people behind their production.\r\n\r\n“I don’t know about them, I have no idea what you are talking about,” he said. – NewsDay