The political bombardment of the troubled Midlands province — the perceived citadel of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s support within the warring Zanu PF — continues unabated, with the region remaining firmly under the curatorship of the party’s head office.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told the Daily News yesterday that contrary to suggestions in recent State media reports, Mnangagwa’s avowed party foes, the Generation 40 group, had not been pegged back in the province, with the VP’s allies in the region remaining under heavy political fire.
“It’s simply not true to say that Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) has won the war of attrition raging in the Midlands and that the G40 are on the retreat. The G40 know that if they defeat Ngwena (Mnangagwa) and his foot soldiers in the province, then he is to all intents and purposes finished in the race to succeed President Mugabe.
“By the way, just in case you guys don’t also see it, Midlands Province continues to operate under political curatorship, contrary to claims by some in Team Lacoste.
“The G40 are thus in firm control, unless if anyone is to suggest that (national party political commissar Saviour) Kasukuwere is now somehow a member of Team Lacoste, which is impossible,” a senior party official who claims to be “non-aligned” in Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars said.
Another party bigwig also said although Jorum Gumbo — who already stands accused by Team Lacoste of having allegedly “sold out” to the G40 — had been appointed the new interim Midlands chairperson for the next three months, Kasukuwere would indeed continue to be effectively in charge of the province as “the ultimate overseer”.
“What is clear is that the party has just demonstrated to Mnangagwa that he has lost control of Midlands, with Kasukuwere — assisted by Gumbo — running the show.
“Mnangagwa’s allies such as (party deputy secretary for administration) July Moyo and others are also definitely not off the hook yet as some would like to make the world believe,” the regional party official said.
This comes as other party insiders confirmed to the Daily News that Mnangagwa had allegedly failed to convince the last Zanu PF politburo meeting to block the reinstatement of some top party officials who were suspended during the anti-Joice Mujuru campaign, and who apparently now back the G40 group.
The insiders also said the beleaguered VP had suffered another setback after it was revealed that the votes of no confidence that were passed against his regional allies would only be reviewed by a special party committee that would be set up by its central committee.
In addition, it had been decided that other regional allies of the VP, who stand accused of orchestrating a reign of terror against anyone perceived to be opposed to the Midlands godfather, would also soon be hauled before the party’s national disciplinary committee that is packed with G40-aligned members.
And in another stunning development, a politburo member accused Mnangagwa yesterday of allegedly having been the mastermind behind the ouster of many party officials who were “falsely accused of being Gamatox (Mujuru camp)”, when the VP was the party’s secretary for legal affairs.
The miffed bigwig said people such as Tendai Savanhu, Nicholas Goche, Francis Nhema, Flora Bhuka and Jason Machaya could now bounce back after it became apparent that they were not Mujuru allies — a move that wold further dent Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations.
“It will be a major embarrassment for Mnangagwa if all these people are reinstated. Their suspension without due processes being considered was done under the auspices of Mnangagwa who was then legal secretary of the party.
“It will be a huge indictment on the VP’s standing to be told in his face that he erred in expelling all these people without following proper procedures.
“Secondly, the coming in of the likes of Bhuka, Nhema and others will mean that Mnangangwa’s people in the Midlands will have to go down even further in the packing order,” a top Zanu PF official in the Midlands said.
This all comes at a time that Mugabe is said to have expressed worries about the never-ending chaos in the Midlands, questioning why there was so much disorder in the province where one of his vice presidents hails from.
“For the president it does not make sense that the province of the vice president is the most chaotic in the party. It speaks volumes of the factional fights in the province which have spread to the whole country,” another party bigwig said.
Just this last week, some of Mnangagwa’s supporters, fronted by the “violent” terror group Al Shabab group, ran amok in the midlands after Kasukuwere’s visit to the province -- in what insiders said was yet another sign that Team Lacoste was desperate to recover lost ground. daily news