HARARE – It appears as if it never rains but pours for embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF allies, with one of his alleged key lieutenants being roughed up by party youths opposed to the Midlands godfather at a funeral at the weekend, the Dailynews has reported.
Former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central youth league chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that he had been chased away by his fellow comrades from the funeral of provincial chairperson Dickson Mafios’ wife on Saturday.
Mafios is brother to Local Government minister and Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Zanu PF insiders say Mnangagwa is locked in a nasty succession battle with the party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) — a rising faction that is reportedly backed by First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
The G40 is said to include Kasukuwere and President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.
Mnangagwa and his allies have for the past few months been under the cosh in the party, with dozens of the VP’s key backers being suspended through the ruling party’s controversial votes of no confidence.
Tsenengamu, who is one of those officials who have been booted out of the party on various charges, including allegedly fanning factionalism, claimed that during the burial of Mafios’ wife at Bindura Cottco Cemetery, he was approached by a group of youths led by Frank Tumozo, a Zanu PF district youth chairperson from Chipadze, who claimed that a senior member of the party wanted to see him.
However, Tsenengamu refused to comply with the request, as he suspected that the group had ulterior motives.
“When I refused to follow them, they went away for a while and had a chat with two youth league provincial members of the G40, Caleb Karima of Mt Darwin and Lens Farando (Ruwizhu) of Chipadze in Bindura.
“After a while, Tumozo came back in the company of more youths and confronted me asking why I had refused to go and meet the senior party official, and asking what I was doing at the funeral.
“They said I should immediately leave, threatening to instruct the youths to beat me up as I was not welcome there, but I refused to comply,” Tsenengamu said.
He added that he immediately reported the threats to senior police officials who were present at the funeral, who subsequently escorted him home.
“These senior police officers summoned Tumozo and Ruwizhu right at the cemetery and warned them against their actions.
“Ruwizhu was ordered to address and disperse the gathered youths who were baying for my blood, which he did, and they dispersed, while I was escorted out of the cemetery by the officer commanding Bindura district and three more officers who included the officer in charge of Bindura Police Station who took me to his marked police car and drove me into town,” Tsenengamu said.
Efforts to get a comment from Mafios were fruitless yesterday as his mobile phone was not reachable.