Mnangagwa’s allies fight back

HARARE – Allies of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who together with their Midlands godfather have been on the receiving end of unrelenting blows from their enemies in the warring post-congress Zanu PF over the past few weeks, are fighting back.

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kasukuwere

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This is happening as the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe gets nastier and dirtier, and as Mugabe’s controversial wife Grace, and Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (G40) group, are ratcheting up the pressure on the beleaguered VP and his supporters.

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Since Grace successfully fronted the decimation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru on untested allegations that the widow of the late decorated liberation struggle hero, Solomon Mujuru, plotted to oust and assassinate Mugabe, she has turned her considerable guns on Mnangagwa, who many see as Mugabe’s most likely successor.

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Only last week, Grace savaged the under-fire VP and roasted his supporters while addressing her latest high octane rally in Manicaland, with politburo member and regional party godmother, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, coming under withering shellacking.

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But well-placed Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said Mnangagwa’s supporters had now had “enough”, with the events in Chimanimani on Thursday “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, and which necessitated that Grace, and not just the G40, also gets “special treatment”.

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“For a long time now, we have concentrated our efforts on defending ourselves from the malice and divisive games of the G40 and other weevils (Zanu PF Johnny-come-latelies).

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“But it is clear that this is not working and that we need to do more. Unfortunately, this means that all the people who are attacking us left, right and centre now need special attention because the situation demands that we do so,” a senior party official said ominously but cryptically.

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And as this is happening, observers have noted the rising militancy of the language used by perceived Mnangagwa loyalists over the past few weeks, including Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena and War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.

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For example, the self-confident Wadyajena has recently joined micro-blogging site Twitter, seemingly with the sole intention of hitting back and savaging all Zanu PF officials seen as working against Mnangagwa — among them garrulous Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.

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Each time the eager technophile Moyo has posted something on social media that can be construed as directed at Mnangagwa and his supporters, Wadyajena has fired back with venom, going to the extent of claiming bizarrely last week that it was better to be seen as a murderer than a gay gangster.

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This was a cheap shot at key members of the G40, some of whom are said to be gay, in the rabidly homophobic ruling party — whose leader Mugabe is on record as being violently homophobic.

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And speaking in an interview with South African television news channel, ANN7 on Thursday, Mutsvangwa stunningly accused the G40, of whom Moyo and Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere are alleged to be key members, of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.

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Without mentioning names, Mutsvangwa warned the G40, saying the group was led by “an errant professor” — a thinly-veiled attack on Moyo — adding that the faction was made up of “nauseating lunatics, diversionists and misguided power-hungry clowns”.

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“Generation 40 is just a nuisance to the party. They are cronies of diversionists coming from power-hungry clowns misguided by errant professors from nowhere who have found their way into the party,” Mutsvangwa thundered ominously.

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“They absconded the war when sovereignty was at stake. And when there was need for courage and sacrifice to fight for Zimbabwe, they ran away. Now they are trying to bask in new-found glory,” he added derisively.

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Grace and Kasukuwere were children during the liberation struggle, while Moyo has been accused by his Zanu PF detractors of running away from the war.

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Mutsvangwa also bluntly warned that the G40 would face a similar fate as that suffered by Mujuru and her allies, adding that war veterans, “the vanguard of the ruling party”, would protect Zanu PF against them.

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“No single fisher organisations have succeeded outside the legitimacy conferred by the liberation war. They mean nothing and will fail the way the Mujuru cabal failed … they should stop it now. They won’t succeed against war veterans, they are too young,” he said.

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Analysts say the escalating infighting in the post-congress Zanu PF, primarily around Mugabe’s unresolved and bitterly contested succession, could trigger chaos that threatens Zimbabwe’s national security.

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In the meantime, UK-based political analyst and constitutional law expert, Alex Magaisa, has postulated the existence of “a chaos faction within Zanu PF which is waiting in anticipation of conditions of confusion, conflict and chaos, which, it believes, present it with the best opportunities for success”.

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Magaisa said the “chaos faction”, hitherto, less considered in the context of succession dynamics, had little chance in the two better-known routes of succession — appointment by Mugabe and open election — and believed it would be better-placed than the others to take advantage of chaotic conditions in the party.

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He added that if Mugabe’s departure from the political scene was one of an abrupt nature, such as death, it would be “free for all” in Zanu PF, which could lead to the country’s military seizing the opportunity to grab power, ostensibly to restore order.

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“Mugabe has been such a dominant and omnipresent figure within Zanu PF that his death is likely to create a huge chasm that could precipitate panic, confusion and chaos within the party,” Magaisa said.

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“Being the glue that holds the competing factions together, Mugabe’s death would take away this cohesion and lead to open confrontation and conflict between the factions.

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“It is in this context of confusion, conflict and chaos that other groups with a remote eye on the throne, quite likely with a military background, or civilians who have the backing of the military might step in, ostensibly to ‘restore order’, in defence of the ‘national interest’ and with a promise ‘clear the path for a return to democracy’.”

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Mutsvangwa also savaged Kasukuwere in May this year after war veterans’ secretary-general Victor Matemadanda sensationally claimed that some Zanu PF officials were conniving with Western countries in an alleged plot to remove Mugabe from power.

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Speaking in Kwekwe, Mutsvangwa said war veterans were now lobbying to have the political commissar position (currently held by Kasukuwere) and that of secretary for security reserved for people with liberation war credentials.

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“We are pushing to ensure that the position of PC and security in all party levels is held by war veterans, not what is happening that people who have that job do not even know their job description and end up messing the smooth flow of party activities.

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“During our time, a PC was trained first before taking up that position,” he said in a frontal attack on the combative Local Government minister who had insulted some war veterans as drunkards. – Daily News

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