HARARE - As ugly succession wars continue to disembowel President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party, insiders say the party’s faction rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa now has the competing group made up of ambitious Young Turks on the ropes.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that the Mnangagwa faction was now “incontrovertibly on top of the Weevils and Gang of Four” after a supposed key ally of the VP won the party’s Mashonaland East provincial chairmanship at the weekend against a candidate perceived to be loyal to embattled national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
Kasukuwere is alleged to be a central figure in the group of ambitious young party officials who have designs on higher office and who are known by the moniker Generation 40 (G40).
A smaller unit of the G40 is derisively referred to as the Gang of Four, and is seen as vehemently opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.
With Mashonaland East having allegedly become the latest battleground between Mnangagwa and the G40, resident minister Joel Biggie Matiza — said to be a close ally of the VP — soundly thumped Chikomba East legislator Edgar Mbwembwe in the weekend provincial elections, garnering a massive 15 126 votes to Mbwembwe’s 8 845.
And even more importantly for Mnangagwa’s supporters, two other candidates belonging to the camp also won their provincial contests to leave the G40 “gasping for air”.
“If this was a soccer match it would be Mnangagwa 2, Kasukuwere 0, and the scoreline would only get worse for the divisive Weevils and Gang of Four. Remember that the G40 is already in disarray after the First Family put some distance between them and these over-ambitious factionalists.
“Now, they have lost Mash East and I can assure you that more bad news is coming their way. In the end, they will be very lucky to escape the same fate that befell the Gamatox (the Zanu PF faction aligned to former Vice President Joice Mujuru). It’s almost over bar the shouting,” a party official seen as close to Mnangagwa said yesterday.
The Daily News’ sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday reported recently that as Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars continue to rip the former liberation movement apart, it had emerged that Mnangagwa’s supporters were ratcheting up the pressure on politburo members Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo, including allegedly frantically trying to convince Mugabe to drop them from Cabinet.
Sources told the newspaper that there was a renewed effort to see to it that the two Cabinet ministers were “stopped dead in their tracks”, amid the untested allegations by Mnangagwa’s supporters that they were opposed to the party strongman succeeding Mugabe.
However, the victorious Matiza refused to say much about his Mashonaland East victory when contacted by the Daily News yesterday, including the claims that his victory meant that Mnangagwa was on the ascendancy in the ruling party.
“I cannot say much as I am in church. Can you please try calling me after,” he said — although subsequent efforts to reach him were unsuccessful until the time of going to Press.
But, controversial musician-cum-politician, Energy Mutodi — a self-confessed fanatic follower of Mnangagwa claimed on his Facebook page yesterday that Mbwembwe in fact allegedly belonged to the “original” Zanu PF faction that uses the slogan People First, and which is linked to the Mujuru camp.
“Mashonaland East Resident minister Joel Biggie Matiza is the new Zanu PF provincial chairman after scooping 15 126 votes against a People’s First candidate Edgar Mbwembwe who got 8 845 votes according to reports.
“Matiza had been paired with Aplonia Munzverengi who also won the Women’s League top post with 5 612 against Mbwembwe’s People’s First candidate Beatrice Nyamupinga who polled 4 386.