HARARE - As Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars continue to rip the former liberation movement apart, it has emerged that supporters of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa are ratcheting up the pressure on senior party officials Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere, including allegedly frantically trying to convince President Robert Mugabe to drop them from Cabinet.
Well-placed sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday claimed that there was a renewed effort to see to it that the two politburo members and Cabinet ministers were “stopped dead in their tracks”, amid allegations by Mnangagwa’s supporters that they were opposed to the party strongman succeeding Mugabe.
“Jonathan and Tyson (Kasukuwere’s nickname) think that they are clever. They have been plotting to put spanners in the works of Ngwena (Mnangagwa’s nickname) and it is now time to see to it that the two leading Weevils are turfed out once and for all,” a senior party official believed to be in Mnangagwa’s camp said yesterday.
He claimed 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 the media and being “disadvantaged” at party level — blaming Moyo and Kasukuwere for these “acts of sabotage”.
The official cited a number of recent events that he claimed highlighted “this untenable state of affairs” which allegedly needed remedying as soon as possible.
These included this week’s story that spotlighted Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana’s controversial views on the age of sexual consent, the unfolding drama surrounding Keith Guzah’s disputed victory in the June 10 by-elections in Hurungwe West, the recent nasty spat between Moyo and maverick personality Goodson Nguni, and the appearance in Parliament last week by Brainworks Capital over its consultancy to the government on indigenisation.
“Fortunately for Ngwena, the two (Moyo and Kasukuwere) have made and continue to make many mistakes both at party level and within the government. We will nail them,” the senior Zanu PF official said, further hinting that a supposedly pending Cabinet reshuffle would “deal with them”.
In the Tomana case, the Prosecutor General, who is alleged to be in Mnangagwa’s camp, has since made a 180-degree turn on his recorded statements last week — which courted serious societal umbrage — that children under the age of 12 could consent to sex, and that marriage was an option for under-age girls from deprived socio-economic backgrounds.
He has also since insinuated that there was a political conspiracy, ostensibly by Moyo, to get him removed from office.
“When I read the Chronicle I didn’t believe it, but when I read The Herald I was shocked! The Herald is supposed to be the national flagship and carry Government policy in truth. It is supposed to protect Government institutions . . . it is supposed to protect the Prosecutor-General,” Tomana complained in an interview with the media yesterday.
The Zanu PF official who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday claimed that it was allegedly clear that the original Tomana story had been carried by State to damage both the Prosecutor General and Mnangagwa.
“There is no doubt that they want Tomana out and by so doing they want to weaken Ngwena. It won’t happen,” he said.
In the Brainworks Capital saga, legislators are probing the company’s provision of consultancy services to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) in projects worth billions of dollars without having gone to tender.
The firm was controversially contracted by Nieeb, then ultimately under the political leadership of Kasukuwere who was Indigenisation minister at the time, to provide advisory services in the indigenisation of various mining giants that include Zimplats, Unki, Mimosa and Blanket Mine among others.
The consultancy firm charged up to two percent of the total share value of the companies, which could have seen Brainworks being paid millions of dollars if its advice had been taken on board.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment which is probing the matter is chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya, Justice Mayor Wadyajena — who is seen as a close Mnangagwa ally.
A legislator sympathetic to Kasukuwere claimed yesterday that in his view, the probe was “nothing more than a witch hunt against Tyson” with the intention of portraying the now Water Affairs minister as corrupt.
“There could be issues in the saga but the way this is being looked into raises eyebrows as the intention is seemingly to crucify him (Kasukuwere). This can’t be right,” the MP said.
There are also attempts to place Kasukuwere at the centre of the Guzah by-elections shenanigans which if proven true could see the newly-elected Hurungwe West legislator losing his seat.
However, if this happens, this will also pile further pressure on the country’s beleaguered electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), as well as on Mugabe and Zanu PF who for long have had to deal with damaging allegations from the country’s opposition and civil society organisations that they always cheat their way to power.
The allegations will also do little to dampen the ruling party’s deadly and seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars that have seen the brutal purging of many of its senior officials, including former Vice President Joice Mujuru — amid untested claims that they plotted to oust and kill Mugabe.
Investigations by the Daily News on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily News, last week suggested that Guzah may not have been a registered voter in Hurungwe West, a development that would automatically disqualify him from Parliament if proven to be true.