Several allies of former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa have been fired by their respective provinces, with the decision now awaiting ratification by the Zanu PF politburo.
There was a complete whitewash of Mnangagwa’s acolytes in Manicaland, where a provincial coordinating committee (PCC) meeting held in the mountainous city of Mutare purged 38 of the former vice president’s allies.
Zanu PF heavyweights, among them Cyber Security minister Patrick Chinamasa; Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri; Scholarships minister Chris Mushowe; deputy minister of Health and Child Care Win Mlambo; former Cabinet minister Hubert Nyanhongo; deputy minister of Local Government Christopher Chingosho and Buhera West legislator Oliver Mandipaka, were expelled from the party.
“There was a resolution that vice president Mnangagwa should be recalled and that we should find his foot-soldiers and make resolutions for their expulsions,” said Zanu PF Manicaland provincial secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera in announcing the expulsions.
This comes as the provinces also stampeded to recommend the elevation of First lady Grace Mugabe, as Mnangagwa’s successor.
Bulawayo and Mashonaland Central had been the first provinces to call for Mnangagwa’s ouster and Grace’s elevation at their respective PCC meetings on Sunday.
Yesterday, Manicaland added its voice to the calls to have Mnangagwa replaced by Grace.
In Mashonaland West, it was recommended that former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira and former deputy minister of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi be dismissed from Zanu PF.
It was also recommended that Grace succeeds Mnangagwa.
In Masvingo, an emergency PCC meeting expelled former provincial chairperson Paradzai Chakona.
Masvingo provincial political commissar Jappy Jaboon, had this to say:
“The PCC today recommended the expulsion of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zaka central MP Paradzai Chakona and other several members. Chakona is accused of providing the bus which ferried people that went to Bulawayo to boo the first lady.”
A similar meeting was also held in Matabeleland South province but details of the indaba could not be immediately obtained.
Provincial chair Rabelani Choeni declined to entertain the Daily News, saying; “I don’t talk to the Daily News myself,” before terminating the call.
In Matabeleland North, provincial chairperson Richard Moyo said the PCC would be meeting on Saturday to discuss the business of the day.
“We failed to convene today because people were at their workplaces since it is a Monday, so we have rescheduled it to Saturday,” he said.
Yesterday, the Zanu PF youth league joined a chorus of voices calling for Grace’s elevation.
Secretary of the wing Kudzanai Chipanga said although they will wait for recommendations from the women’s league on who will take over from Mnangagwa, they have since made their decision to settle for Grace.
“However, keeping in mind that the woman shall be vice president of the whole nation, the youth league included, it has ignited us to take an interest and position in the selection of the candidate.
“It has to be one acceptable (candidate) and with unquestionable loyalty to the party and its principal Mugabe and more importantly, one without ambitions to work against the president.
“The only person possessing such qualities is the leader of the women’s league, none other than . . . Grace,” he declared.
Chipanga described those who heckled Grace as “a group of malcontents, reckless, uncouth and spineless minority seeking relevance”.
“We as the youth league are not blind to the identity of the parties behind this unpalatable behaviour and we are alive to their machinations and devices. We are therefore sending a strong message to these people and their handlers that this country was built on the ultimate sacrifices of our people whose blood watered the revolution.
“The person of the head of State, and more so the integrity and reputation of the first lady is untouchable. As the president clearly spelt out, these clowns, masquerading as genuine party members whilst promoting the hostile agenda of Mnangagwa, are free to take their circus to the political zoo by forming their own party,” said Chipanga, while addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday.
Meanwhile, allies of Mnangagwa have vowed to go down fighting, notwithstanding yesterday’s dismissal of the Midlands godfather.
The Midlands province yesterday said it had no issues with Mnangagwa.
“We are not going to have an emergency provincial coordinating committee meeting on that issue because there is nothing to talk about,” said provincial chairperson Mackenzie Ncube.
Provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri weighed in, saying they have no intention of convening such a meeting.
He said: “As a province, we have not sat down to deliberate on the calls for the vice president to leave and I am not sure whether we will convene a meeting”.
In Masvingo, a section of the party in support of Mnangagwa refused to throw in the towel.
Mnangagwa’s allies in Masvingo, among them Josiah Hungwe (politburo member) and Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip Lovemore Matuke have been recommended for expulsion by their rivals in the Generation 40 (G40) faction.
Hungwe, the most senior politburo member in Masvingo, told the Daily News yesterday that as far as he was concerned, he was still a member of the ruling party and they are no changes in the province that he knows of.
“I have not heard anything about that and I am still in Zanu PF; there was no change at all,” said Hungwe.
Matuke, who is also a politburo member, described his expulsion as a “non-event”.
He said the meeting called for his dismissal was unconstitutional “and I think it’s a group of few people who want to disturb the province”.
Another constituency that has been solidly behind the vice president, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), was bristling with anger at the way their preferred heir to Mugabe has been undressed by Grace, and her husband.
ZNLWVA Mashonaland Central chairperson Sam Parirenyatwa said the G40 faction cannot expel Mnangagwa from Zanu PF, describing the “purported Mashonaland Central resolution on ED’s expulsion is a non-event, which does not represent the position of Zanu PF in Mash Central province”.
Parirenyatwa said the proceedings were stage-managed by G40 and selected members present were threatened with expulsion and unspecified action should they resist the pre-prepared resolution.
“Mash Central is solidly and unshakably behind ED. ED remains a symbol of our struggle. As the real Zanu PF, we are now saying ED for president in 2018,” said Parirenyatwa.
The Team Lacoste faction appears determined to sabotage Zanu PF’s election prospects next year if their man is removed from his post.
Mnangagwa’s allies are already mulling what they have termed Bhora Mudziva operation, a ploy to shipwreck Mugabe’s chances of winning next year’s elections if he does not catapult Mnangagwa to State House.
The strategy takes a leaf from the Bhora Musango plot of 2008 w _ _hereby Zanu PF supporters disenchanted with Mugabe’s rule voted for their Members of Parliament in Zanu PF but cast the presidential vote in favour of his rivals.
In that election, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and Zanu PF in the poll but could not achieve the threshold required to be declared the winner. A run-off poll then followed, which was won by Mugabe after Tsvangirai withdrew from the race, citing systematic violence against his supporters and officials.
Expelled Zanu PF activist and businessman Energy Mutodi, has already hit the ground running, launching his campaign for the Bikita South constituency as a Zanu PF candidate.
“Bikita South toda mwana wedu Mutodi. Mwana akakurira muZanu PF, anofamba negwara remusangano. Amirira zvino kuti mumutume kuParliament (In Bikita South, we now want our own son to lead us, he has a strong Zanu PF background,” reads a Mutodi campaign poster.
Efforts to get further comment from Mutodi were fruitless as his mobile phone was not available.
Insiders in the Team Lacoste faction say there are hundreds of other disgruntled ex-Zanu PF officials who were ready to stand as independent candidates to stymie Mugabe’s chances of winning next year’s elections. Daily News