Emmerson Mnangagwa survives purge as Grace Mugabe faction plots ouster

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VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday survived a planned purge by his foes, as mutinous war veterans backing his bid for power remained defiant, warning that they were prepared to die for expressing their dissatisfaction with the ruling ZANU-PF.


A group of war veterans who earlier this year failed to wrest power from expelled party cadre, Christopher Mutsvangwa, called for an emergency meeting of mainly war veterans, ex-detainees and collaborators after a stinging communiqué crafted by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), discrediting President Robert Mugabe and his government.
Mutsvangwa is the leader of ZNLWVA, an institution that has traditionally been aligned to ZANU-PF.
At yesterday’s meeting at the ruling party’s headquarters, Mandi Chimene, who had earlier imposed herself as the ZNLWVA interim chairperson, but was interdicted by the High Court from doing so after a failed bid to oust Mutsvangwa, said Mnangagwa should be chucked out of the party.
She accused the Vice President of leading a faction plotting the removal of President Mugabe from office in order to takeover power.
“Tsholotsho was led by Mnangagwa, Lacoste is led by Mnangagwa. Until when should we continue to run with parallel structures?” Chimene asked President Mugabe as she called for Mnangagwa’s purge.
She was referring to the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration of 2004, in which a group aligned to Mnangagwa had hatched a succession plan for the late vice president Simon Muzenda that involved the elevation of Mnangagwa as Muzenda’s successor.
The plan was, however, foiled by the elevation of Joice Mujuru, who was expelled in 2014 for allegedly plotting to unconstitutionally remove President Mugabe from power.
Team Lacoste is a faction allegedly pushing for Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe.
Chimene, who reminded President Mugabe that he was the appointing authority, said: “If you can’t fire him, let us go for an emergency congress right away where we will do it for you.”
However, President Mugabe, who clearly indicated that he was disgusted by the war veterans’ criticism of his leadership, said he was not going to reshuffle the presidium.
“We shall keep together at the top. We shall remain united,” he said.
“The wings of the party, Youth League, Women’s League, need to be united. I am glad that we have maintained that unity and I hope we shall maintain it until 2018,” he said.

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Mandi Chimene yesterday said Mnangagwa should be chucked out of the party.

President Mugabe said he wanted ZANU-PF “to keep together. Let’s keep together”.
Very few war veterans attended the meeting, which had been described by a section of war veterans aligned to a faction opposed to Mnangagwa as “a must attend” meeting.
Away from the meeting, war veterans accused of planning the President’s removal from power said even though they were cognisant of the fact that the ensuing witch-hunt from a communiqué issued after their no-holds barred meeting last week could turn ugly as ZANU-PF tried to contain the unexpected onslaught from the former combatants, they remained unrelenting.

President Mugabe said he wanted ZANU-PF “to keep together. Let’s keep together”.

Very few war veterans attended the meeting, which had been described by a section of war veterans aligned to a faction opposed to Mnangagwa as “a must attend” meeting.

Away from the meeting, war veterans accused of planning the President’s removal from power said even though they were cognisant of the fact that the ensuing witch-hunt from a communiqué issued after their no-holds barred meeting last week could turn ugly as ZANU-PF tried to contain the unexpected onslaught from the former combatants, they remained unrelenting.

“We know that things are going to get really bad. There will be arrests and possibly killings, but this is not new to us as fighters. We witnessed people being shot at Mukushi in Zambia, at Chimoio and Nyadzonya in Mozambique. There is nothing new in such a struggle. We are prepared for anything,” said ZNLWVA spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya.

Mahiya was referring to the time when dozens of guerilla war combatants were summarily shot in Zambia and Mozambique at the height of the 1970s liberation war following the death of the then leader of ZANU, Herbert Chitepo, who had been assassinated in a car bomb blast in the Zambian capital, Lusaka on March 18, 1975.

Although the assassination was blamed on Ian Smith’s regime, which the guerilla fighters were fighting against, a major witch-hunt followed Chitepo’s death and many freedom fighters were accused of being involved in the killing, leading to those who were labelled traitors being killed.

mugabe in thot

President Mugabe said he wanted ZANU-PF to be united

Leading figures in the guerilla bush war, such as Josiah Tongogara, were also linked to the assassination and were jailed in Zambia before surviving by the skin of their teeth.

Speaking on the eve of yesterday’s explosive meeting between a section of the war veterans and their patron President Mugabe, Mahiya said they had decided to stand by the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe because they had realised that the leadership in ZANU-PF was now beyond reproach.

“We have filed for a divorce and we don’t care whatever the ruling the magistrate makes. The party has been hijacked by people who don’t even know the history of the struggle for this country. But we are not going to be deterred because a wedge has been placed between us by people like Jonathan Moyo,” said Mahiya.

The latest furore in the ruling party further highlights the depth of the party’s factional war that is pitting two groups, Team Lacoste and Generation 40 or G40, which is battling to thwart Mnangagwa’s prospects to succeed President Mugabe.

Political analyst, Eldred Masunungure, described the latest twist in the ructions in ZANU-PF as a “kind of tsunami” that is a game-changer in the relationships within the ruling party, which he said had forced President Mugabe into calling for a meeting with the war veterans yesterday in acknowledgement that it is “no longer business as usual”.

Without ruling out the possibility of a major assault on the leaders of the rebelling war veterans, Masunungure said: “The response so far to the communiqué suggests that the regime could be one step away from taking serious action against the disgruntled war vets once it judges this to be a national security threat which would require decisive action. That would be the last resort though… But it’s not beyond the establishment to take a hammer to destroy any source of rebellion within its ranks.”

Another political analyst, Otto Saki, said although the authenticity of the war veterans’ document has been questioned, it, however, does not “impugn the contents as entirely unfounded as they might be a reflection of sentiments among war veterans and the society at large”.

mutasa

Didymus Mutasa was thrown out of the party and government in late 2014.

Saki said: “The response from relevant State-party officials to this communiqué was very predictable and unfortunate. It entrenches mutual resentment, bravado, and burying of heads in the sand rather than attempting to address the fundamental issues facing the ruling party. If these issues were confined to the ruling party, most citizens would not care as party politics has become toxic, fractured and unsustainable, including the many fragmented opposition parties in the country; but these developments have since paralysed the very same government that we expect to provide public good and services.”

Since 2014, ZANU-PF has either dismissed or suspended more than 200 cadres for stepping offline following a purported plot by Mujuru to oust President Mugabe from power. Mujuru was thrown out of the party and government in late 2014, together with the likes of Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and many others. The purge also affected former war veterans’ leader, Jabulani Sibanda. And since the purge, war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa has been among those who have been shown the exit door, despite the President having promised that there would be no further dismissals.

To deflect the threat posed by rebellious veterans, hundreds of ZANU-PF supporters were bused to yesterday’s meeting of break-away war veterans at the ZANU-PF headquarters in the capital to shore up support for their beleaguered leader who is under increasing pressure from all quarters for him to act on the country’s relentless slide into ruin. Initially meant to be a meeting between the President and the war veterans, ex-detainees and war collaborators, the gathering turned into a major rally that included members of the party’s boisterous youth and women’s wings who appear eager to violently thwart the simmering dissent across the country.

Public anger throughout the country has manifested over the past weeks in the form of increased protests and marches that have sometimes turned violent after police tried to break them up.-Fingaz

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