MANICALAND Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has revealed that her unrestrained attack on Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was supported by Zanu PF youth and women’s wings amid revelations that the ruling party’s structures will soon be used to push out the veteran politician.
Chimene used a so-called solidarity march to show support for President Robert Mugabe after he was ditched by war veterans a fornight ago to launch a shocking attack on the VP, accusing him of plotting to topple Mugabe.
Mnangagwa yesterday called a hastily arranged press conference to deny allegations that he was leading a Zanu PF faction that wants to push Mugabe out of power.
“I don’t know what Team Lacoste is, who leads it, where it came from and where it is going. It is false that I lead Lacoste,” Mnangagwa said
He said all disputes in Zanu PF should be resolved using the appropriate fora and not in public.
But Chimene told The Standard in an exclusive interview that Mnangagwa had chosen to finally speak after a lot of damage had already been done to Zanu PF.
“This [Wednesday] meeting was aimed at us as war veterans to show our solidarity and support to our comrade president, President Robert Mugabe and we had support from the youths and women in Zanu PF,” she said when asked who had sent her to attack Mnangagwa.
“After realising the level of factionalism and intimidation that has been going on in the party and plots to overthrow our president, I, as a war veteran, am duty bound to defend my leader. I decided to speak out and question those who are doing it,” the minister added.
Chimene suggested Mnangagwa’s denials were not genuine as he had not denounced those that claimed to be backing his faction in the past.
“This is unfortunate, he has only found his voice now because we expected him to respond when these things started,” she said.
“He should have told people like Matemadanda [Victor], Mahiya [Douglas] and those youths who have been doing this thing in his name that they are barking like dogs.
“Surely he can’t tell us that just because we have asked him to come out clean. He allowed his name to be used and abused I assume, going by what he said, and today he tells us we are barking. We will bark in support of our president, not rebels.
“When people were declaring him to be the next leader, he did not say they were barking, he remained quiet, now he is telling us we are barking, let him think so.”
A Zanu PF source said Mnangagwa’s rivals were already pushing for a special congress this year to push him out.
“The first and important issue will be to ensure all those who have been pushing for the VP agenda go,” a senior Zanu PF official revealed last night.
“Masvingo province will soon pass a vote of no confidence on Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa and Psychomotor minister and politburo member Josiah Hungwe.”
“When the province re-calls them, it will be the end of ED [Mnangagwa] in Masvingo province. The same processes will be repeated in other provinces.
“People like Victor Matemadanda, July Moyo and others who have been holding secret meetings plotting the rise of the VP will be either suspended or expelled from the party,” the source added.
“As the extra ordinary congress nears, executive members from district level to provincial leadership aligned to the VP, will be removed so that only those who are attending are pro-the First family and G40.
“From now to December, there are two critical events that will set the tone for the eventual ouster of the VP.
“These include women’s, youth league and provincial conferences.
“At these conferences, the resolutions will be to the effect that the VP must go and that the December conference be turned into an extra-ordinary congress so that the party deals with the succession issue.”
Meanwhile, the VP for the first time yesterday attacked war veterans that authored the communiqué undressing Mugabe. He insisted that allegations he was plotting against Mugabe were untrue.
“I have recently witnessed a disturbing and alien trend whereby party cadres concoct unfounded, unproven, blatant lies and callous utterances and accusations against me with the ultimate objective of deprecating and maligning my person and standing,” he said.
“I have further observed with grave concern as members of the party at various levels exhibit untoward behaviour and make utterances contrary to the dictates of the party constitution and protocol.”
Mnangagwa said he had not responded to the allegations levelled against him by Chimene and Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka because he respected Zanu PF principles.
The VP, however, said he was given authority by Mugabe to chair Cabinet sub-committees as he dismissed allegations he was running a parallel government. standard