VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa, now in fire-fighting mode after embarrassing boobs by overzealous lieutenants, has reportedly issued a “say no more” order to his hangers on, threatening stern action against those who defy the directive.
Mnangagwa was forced to act, clearly wary that he could be seen as trying to take the shine off the notoriously paranoid President Robert Mugabe who recently fired former deputy Joice Mujuru over unproven claims she was trying to topple him.
After Mugabe replaced Mujuru with Mnangagwa, some of the latter’s allies in the divided ruling party have gone overboard in expressing their delight.
Despite saying very little about his day job in government, psychomotor activities minister Josiah Hungwe has suddenly found his voice and went so far as to describe the new VP in biblical terms as the “son of man.”
And last week, ministers and top government officials thought to have backed Mujuru in her succession showdown with Mnangagwa were ejected from a party held to celebrate the justice minister’s perceived triumph over the shamed former vice president.
Those barred by overzealous activists from the party held at Mnangagwa’s Mapanzure village in Zvishavane included junior ministers Fred Moyo (Mines) and Chiratidzo Mabuwa (Industry) as well as Mberengwa North lawmaker Tafanana Zhou and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Isaac Moyo.
Mnangagwa, who has since apologised to Fred Moyo and called off other celebration shindigs scheduled to have been staged his Sherwood Farm in Kwekwe and other areas including President Mugabe’s rural home at Kutama.
In addition, he reportedly dispatched Zanu PF parliamentary chief whip Joram Gumbo to read his lieutenants the riot act.
Gumbo, in an address to the Midlands, Provincial Coordinating Committee Saturday ordered a “stop to personalising the vice president”.
“I am making an appeal to all members present here to stop personalising or abusing the name of VP Mnangagwa because he is now a statesman and national leader.
“Currently, he is the acting president of the country. It is now different; we used to look at him as our provincial leader. The VP is calling for us to love one another, to unite and work for the development of the country,” said Gumbo.
The Zanu PF education secretary added: “We urge you as provincial members to take this message to all party members and the general public outside there to know these new developments.”
“Tell them VP Mnangagwa is now different from what we previously know; he is no longer an MP and Minister but second in command after president Mugabe, so we must be disciplined when it comes to his name,” Gumbo told the meeting adding that “stern action” would be taken against those found “off-side”.
Insiders said Mnangagwa has, in the aftermath of the Zvishavane incident, apologised profusely to all those affected and called for “unity because there were no winners or losers during the congress”.
Following his appointment as the country’s number two, Mnangagwa has widely been touted as the “chosen one” and in line to take over from the 90 year-old and reportedly ailing Mugabe.
But in a reality check for the vice president’s partying supporters, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao used the state media Sunday to declare that the president had not anointed a successor.
Moyo and Zhuwao are understood to be part of a group rallying behind Mugabe’s wife, Grace, as Zanu PF remains divided despite claims that factionalism ended with the brutal putdown of Mujuru’s group.