Tired of being on the receiving end of unrelenting attacks over the past few months from Zanu PF’s seemingly ever scheming Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) group, the ruling party faction aligned to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is fighting back with venom.
Insiders who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday said so angry were Mnangagwa’s allies that they were once again agitating for the dismissal from Cabinet of alleged G40 kingpins, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his Higher Education counterpart, Jonathan Moyo.
“It is now abundantly clear that Tyson (Kasukuwere) and Jonathan are working to frustrate and decapitate Ngwena (Mnangagwa) politically, in the same way Mai Mujuru (former Vice President Joice Mujuru) was dealt with.
“Their modus operandi has also become clear to everyone, and this is to create and stoke an imaginary wedge between Ngwena and Dr Amai (Grace Mugabe), so that in the end Ngwena is effectively seen as fighting the president. Zvino vanyangira yaona (we have seen through their machinations).
“One just has to look at Kasukuwere’s party games and Jonathan’s social media postings to see this transparent plot. Fortunately, even the blind now see the games, as has been witnessed with the infamous T-shirt saga. Let’s see how they manoeuvre themselves out of this mess,” a senior Zanu PF official seen as sympathetic to Mnangagwa said.
Another party official said he had learnt last week that the Mnangagwa faction was gathering “damning information and evidence” against Kasukuwere and Moyo in a bid to get President Robert Mugabe to fire them from both Cabinet and the politburo on account of their alleged “over-weening ambition and divisive tendencies”.
“There is widespread talk in the party that Saviour and Jonathan are in big trouble and that they may have bitten more than they can swallow. I also understand that even the intelligence and other security structures are being drawn into the fighting, which is pretty serious,” the official said.
Secrets-averse prominent Zanu PF member and self-styled Mnangagwa follower, Energy Mutodi, appeared to be also privy to the talk, writing on his Facebook page that Mugabe would soon be asked to consider removing the two ministers from his Cabinet, “to necessitate unity and progress in both the government and the party”.
“In their bid to discredit the Vice President (Mnangagwa) and set themselves as the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s favourites, the two ministers caused a pandemonium at the heroes acre recently during the burial of national hero Sikhanyiso Ndlovu when they send (sic) Harare Political Commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe to distribute T-shirts with messages perceived to cause divisions in the ruling party.
“Printed with the picture of both President Robert Mugabe together with the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo in the front and a controversial message, “MUNHU WESE KUNA AMAI” at the back, the T-shirts that were won by Mbare Chimurenga choir members have left tongues waging with party supporters asking which Amai they alluded to and their significance at such a gathering.
“Following Professor Moyo’s defending of the T-shirts in the media where he said it is common knowledge that Dr Amai Grace Mugabe is where the President is, it dawned in the minds of party supporters that Moyo is pushing Vice President Mnangagwa and the First Lady into a collision course so that his G40 cabal together with Kasukuwere can end up being the biggest beneficiary of the mistrust and confusion that follows.
“The inclusion of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo on the T-shirts has also been deliberately done to dress down VP Mnangagwa who earlier on was quoted by the media saying the late nationalist did not have the aggressiveness to withstand the Smith regime temptations as much as President Mugabe did during and after the liberation struggle.
“But in an attempt to score cheap political points, the highly educated Professor Moyo twisted the statement, adding a flavour of tribalism to it and went on to lambast the vice president on Twitter saying, ‘The innuendo that the late VP Nkomo was a sell-out like Chief Chirau is offensive and unacceptable’.
“If Moyo had reservations on the sentiments passed by the vice president, he could have raised the issue formally in the Politburo or ask the VP to clarify his statement in cabinet where they meet every Tuesday rather than going on to boo him on Twitter and even distribute and defend offensive t-shirts at the national shrine,” Mutodi said.
“This is not the first time that Professor Moyo has attempted to embarrass the VP. Earlier, he has also twisted a statement by the vice president that President Mugabe would be missed by Zimbabweans whenever he leaves office because of his rare leadership qualities, interpreting it to mean that the VP was wishing the President dead.
“What has made Moyo’s statements highly divisive and dangerous for the party is that he is a Cabinet minister and a politburo member and whatever he says is taken seriously by the media. He also speaks with authority supposedly as someone doing the dirty work for First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“Unfortunately, Moyo’s behaviour has not only cast a bad image on the First Lady as someone who does not respect the men who are assisting her husband run government but has also angered party supporters who are anxious to see government take steps to rescue the economy from further collapse and create jobs for the ballooning jobless youths in urban zones,” Mutodi added.
The musician-turned-politician also claimed that Kasukuwere and Moyo were using Grace as they knew that she would not be able to take over from Mugabe and were “supporting her bid such that when the going gets tough for her, they stand a better chance to be nominated by her as successors”.
He added that following reports that the army had recently held several meetings on the potential security threat posed by Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars, pressure was mounting on Mugabe and his top aides “to calm the storm by flashing out Professor Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere from Cabinet before things worsen”.
“The two ministers seem to be obsessed with conflict and anarchy and they are seemingly uncontrollable given the fact that Professor Moyo has disregarded President Mugabe’s call for party members to stop posting offensive messages against leaders on Internet as he continues to undermine Vice President Mnangagwa via Twitter.
“Party members would like to see President Mugabe, First Lady Grace Mugabe and the two Vice Presidents working well together and prepare for the 2018 elections when President Mugabe is expected to win resoundingly against a potential coalition between MDCT leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former deputy President Joice Mujuru who was unceremoniously removed from office on corruption charges last year.
“However, with the current trend where there is conflict after conflict, there are fears that the party can implode and fail to unite on time to beat whoever the opposition will present as a challenger to President Mugabe,” Mutodi said.
This is not the first time that Mnangagwa’s supporters have bayed for Kasukuwere’s and Moyo’s blood.
In June, insiders told the Daily News on Sunday that there was a concerted effort to see to it that the two were “stopped dead in their tracks”, amid allegations by Mnangagwa’s supporters that they were opposed to the party strongman succeeding Mugabe.
It was claimed then that it had not been a coincidence that all Zanu PF and government officials who were linked to Mnangagwa were allegedly receiving negative press coverage in State media and being “disadvantaged” at party level — blaming Moyo and Kasukuwere for these “acts of sabotage”.
And last month, sources told the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News that the combative Kasukuwere was under the gun from his ruling party enemies who were throwing everything at the burly party enforcer in a desperate bid to oust him, including mobilising for a vote of no confidence against him.