Sunday, 31 July 2016


Beleaguered Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday moved to publicly disown his allies again, as he battles to save his political career — saying contrary to suggestions by his Zanu PF foes, he remained loyal to President Robert Mugabe and had no intention of pushing the nonagenarian out of power.

Mnangagwa jettisoned his followers, who have been rooting for him to take over from Mugabe for the second time in a week, while addressing a press conference at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare yesterday where the independent media was barred from attending the press event.

Well-placed sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday last night said the embattled VP’s move to ditch his followers would leave many party bigwigs “exposed” and prone to being “picked off politically, one by one”.

Mnangagwa had also apparently barred the private media from being present at his press conference because he allegedly feared being asked searching questions and at the same time wanted to avoid “any perceptions that he is using” the independent press to advance his mooted higher office ambitions.

In the end, the media briefing — which was only covered by the Sunday Mail and ZBC — was said to have been convened in response to last week’s calls by Mugabe that it was important for Zanu PF leaders who stood accused of plotting to oust the nonagenarian from power to publicly dissociate themselves from any such nefarious activities.

The sources who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said Mnangagwa had, in actions allegedly reminiscent of his “cowardly manoeuvres” when trouble followed the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration in 2004 where the VP was also accused of trying to grab power from Mugabe, “completely disowned” all those operating under the Team Lacoste label who have been rallying behind his mooted presidential ambitions.

“By all accounts, Mnangagwa has done what Mnangagwa always does, which is to look after his own skin and feed his allies to the crocodiles, excuse the pun. He also only invited State media to his press conference because that sector is packed with members of his faction who are fighting his nemeses, the G40.

“Ngwena (Mnangagwa) blamed everyone else except himself in the current fallout over the recent utterances by war veterans. He completely denied having any relationship with those saying he must take over as president, hoping to convince the president that he is not afraid of speaking publicly against his allies,” one of sources said.

“He realised that keeping quiet in perpetuity over the current ructions would not help him one bit because his G40 enemies were continuing to use his silence against him,” the source added.

Mnangagwa’s media briefing to State media yesterday followed stunning accusations by Manicaland Provincial minister Mandi Chimene during Mugabe’s meeting with Zanu PF supporters in Harare last week where she fingered the Midlands godfather for being the 
leader of the Team Lacoste faction in the party’s brutal succession war.

It was when he spoke thereafter that Mugabe directed Mnangagwa to come clean “so that the people have confidence in us as leaders”.

“It is also up to us as leaders to always come clean and deny these accusations rather than keeping quiet so that people will have confidence in us,” the nonagenarian said to his aide of nearly five decades.

In her no-holds-barred blitzkrieg against Mnangagwa, Chimene said to his face that the VP and his allies should be expelled from the warring ruling party.

“Forward with expelling rebels. Down with keeping them in the party!” she shouted to cheers from Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF foes.

Likening the VP to an animal, she said all problem animals were culled at the country’s national parks — adding that Zanu PF also needed to implement the same process to deal with “problem animals”.

“Crocodiles must remain in the water. They must stay in the river. They must not stay with the people. Zanu PF is not a dam for crocodiles,” she said coldly.

Chimene went further saying it was allegedly clear that Mnangagwa was the leader of the so-called Team Lacoste Zanu PF faction, adding that the VP was also the alleged head of a 2004 rebellion against Mugabe which came to be known as the Tsholotsho Declaration.

“The Tsholotsho Declaration was being led by Mnangagwa and now Team Lacoste is also being led by Mnangagwa. For how long are we going to keep on pampering one another?

“Some of your ministers are now well-known that they do not support you (Mugabe). We now have two governments. What are we supposed to do?” Chimene asked, also calling for an extra-ordinary Zanu PF congress to deal with the party’s increasingly deadly succession challenge.

“We fail to understand how we are supposed to behave. So, your people are asking for an extra-ordinary congress in light of the current problematic situation so that we vote and deal with the issue once and for all.

“It will not be a problem. If you think organising a congress will be expensive, we can actually do the process now and let people choose the leader of their choice. We are tired of threats.

“We are now asking that you expel those that are plotting against you (Mugabe) because you have the powers to appoint and remove these leaders. And if that fails, we can assist you through an extra-ordinary congress,” Chimene said. daily news


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