- The veteran Zimbabwean leader has reportedly chosen not to back either of the rival Zanu-PF factions.
Zimbabwe: First Lady Dares Lacoste Group – Threatens to Name, Shame Factionalists – Alleges Army Involvement in Bombing
The First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe says she will soon name and shame senior Zanu-PF officials fanning factionalism, saying such people were behind youths who were paraded donning T-shirts inscribed “Team Lacoste.”
Team Lacoste is alleged to be a faction within Zanu-PF reportedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and some youths appeared in the private media putting on the regalia at the funeral of the uncle of Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga.
She also warned some service chiefs whom she said were behind the attempted bombing of the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central.
Addressing thousands of villagers at Kanyemba Secondary School in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central, Amai Mugabe said: “Vanhu vari kuswera vakapfeka maT-shirts hanzi Lacoste, vaakubvunzwa kuti Lacoste inorevei hanzi iperfurme. Hatizi maremaka isusu. Don’t abuse mutupo waPresident. Mobuditsa vana mumapepa, because this is public knowledge we saw the pictures in the papers, vana vakapfeka maT-shirts akanzi Lacoste akaembroidwa neflag yeZimbabwe.”
“Hatidi kuabuser that flag, ine meaning yainoreva flag iyi. Let’s not abuse it. Munodarirei? Kana vanhu vachikudai regai vanhu vakusarudzei. Tanga takangozvigarira isu vanaMai Mugabe isu, vanhu vakati tirimafuza nekuti tanga takanyarara. Mugoti unopiwa anyerere.”
Amai Mugabe warned those fanning factionalism in the party, saying the time for making veiled attacks were over.
“Varikuita zvefactionalism ngavazvirege izvozvi,” she said.
“Stop it forthwith! Nekuti nguva yava kukwana yekuzotaurirana chokwadi. Imbwa iripo apo handivigi mupini ndinoiponda nemupini inini.”
The First Lady said she was prepared to carry President Mugabe to work in a wheel barrow, if need be, given that she had lost confidence on those that she initially thought might succeed him.
“Nekuti chiri kunetsa ndechekuti vataimbofungira vacho kuti vangagona kuitawo mabasa akadaro hatisisina confidence navo,” she said.
Amai Mugabe said the President exercised a lot of patience in Wednesday’s crunch Politburo meeting as some people lied to him.
She said she was not vying for any higher position because she was content with where she was and was exercising powers vested in her as the First Lady and Zanu-PF Women’s League leader.
“Kana paine maservice chiefs varipano vatikutawo, chete musazongotibhombera bedzi ma dairy chete,” Amai Mugabe said, while making her salutations.
She said the bombers targeted her dairy farm, the children’s home she administers in Mazowe and revealed that there was a plot to kill her last born son Bellarmine.
“Moyo wakashata wakaita sei wakadaro? Mademons akaita sei akadaro? And you want me to respect you? You really want me to smile at you and say ‘Oh well done’? Oh no!” Amai Mugabe said.
She accused a party bigwig of pretending to show love to President Mugabe and appear to be happy that the Head of State and Government had fathered children, when in fact he was plotting to kill them.
Amai Mugabe launched an attack on one senior war veteran leader for continuously bragging about his liberation war credentials as if he was the only one who went to war.
“Vakawanda vari pano, vasikana navakomana, vanambuya navanasekuru vari pano vakarwa hondo, but havazvipembedzi. Siya tikupembedze nemabasa ako aunotiitira akanaka. Tinokusema iwewe kana uchida kuti tikuseme nekuti chokwadi munhu unozviparadza wega nemaitiro ako,” said Amai Mugabe.
In an attack believed to be directed at Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans chairperson Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, in whom fellow war veterans passed a vote of confidence later in the day, Amai Mugabe rapped him for double standards.
She said Cde Mutsvangwa was quick to accept a vote of no confidence being passed on some party cadres, but complained when the same was eventually done on him.
“Woda kuzocomplainer kuti mavote of no confidence awanda asi paaipiwa vamwe waisekerera,” she said.
“You were smiling kunge muromo uchatsemuka uchismiler kuti vote of no confidence yapiwa so and so nekuti waisamufarira, ienemy yako. Nhasi yauya pauri yawakucomplainer kuti President vote of no confidence dzawandisa, hee? It has never happened ever in the history of Zanu-PF, nekuti yauya pauri.”
Amai Mugabe warned the war veterans leader to desist from insulting fellow party cadres about their paternal parents because the same could also be used against him.
“Hakuna chinhu chakaipa sekutukirira vamwe uchivaudza zvakashata nezvemubereki wako. Hazvina kunaka. Ko iwewe tikazokuudza kuti vana vauri kuchengeta havazi vako?”
Amai Mugabe rapped the media for distorting what she said on Wednesday while addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters and accused the same of making unwarranted attacks on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo.
“Inini ndakataura musi weWednesday pataitambira Baba, kuti baba tirikutenda nebasa ramakatiitira kuAU (African Union),” she said.
“Zvava zvekutaurirana pachokwadi handitika? Ndakataura ndikati inini zvekutuka ngatiregei. Asi bepa ramangwana rakazobuda richinzi Mai Mugabe vataura kuti hee Jonathan (Moyo) ari kutuka vanhu.” Turning to Prof Moyo who was sitting at the top table, she said “Jonathan waipopota wega? Uri benzi unopopota wega? Jonathan haazi benzi uyu anopopota ega. Ibenzi?
“Such an intelligent person akadai ibenzi? Aipopoterana nevanhu vanotaurawo saiye. Unoona kuti bepa riri controlled nani. Journalists, what’s happening there? Haikona kupota muchipiwa mari muchinyora because tinoverenga, tinepfungwawo. Ehee, hatidi kudaro nekuti yavakungosarira munhu hwani sezvinonzi aipopota ega.”
Amai Mugabe reminded party cadres that the President was the party candidate for the 2018 general elections because he was the only person who could hold the country together.
She later donated 530 tonnes of maize, 100 tonnes of rice, several tractors, cooking oil, clothes, footwear, raincoats, salt and Internet equipment for Kanyemba Secondary School.
Zimbabwe: Politburo Washout – Mugabe Playing Feuding Party Factions Against Each Other?
Days before Zanu PF’s high adrenalin politburo meeting Wednesday, the party soap opera all pointed to a Jonathan Moyo humiliation – and ouster, at worst.
In fact, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba gave the ‘hint’ in an interview with the privately owned ZiFM radio station two weeks ago.
Claiming anger on behalf of his boss, Charamba quickly put on his presidential spokesperson’s jacket and told those who cared to listen that Moyo would soon “come to grief”.
The firebrand Higher and Tertiary Education Minister had fallen out of favour with “the commanders”, it was later revealed on different media.
Subsequent protests from war veterans against Moyo and a host of other younger trouble makers in the party only buttressed the belief the noose was indeed tightening around the former political science professor’s audacious political life and those of fellow “successionists”.
Come Wednesday, the anti-climax was disappointing to those who longed for drama.
Except for Women’s League member Sarah Mahoka’s open but highly telling public rebuke of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the country’s supposedly second most powerful man, the biggest news was the banning of social media abuse by party factions to excoriate each other.
Vowed Jonathan Moyo would come to grief … Mugabe spokesman George Charamba
Seemingly, this was a discomfiting low for Moyo, the perceived target for the anti-social media reproach.
But the G40 front-man was not the only one with the blushes after all.
Mnangagwa, leader of a party faction angling to take control of the party and supposed beneficiary of this anti-Moyo stance, was also left cursing his gods when Mahoka, a virtual nonentity in the beleaguered party’s pecking order, brought him down a peg or two.
“… if you let these things go unchecked, you my brother Shumba-Chikara (Mnangagwa’s totem), munofira mumba. Munofa nechekuchera (You will become a victim of your own machinations),” the Hurungwe East MP and Grace Mugabe ally reprimanded Mugabe’s deputy in the latter’s presence.
“She would not have made such a shocking statement pasina paakatsika (without the backing of more powerful individuals),” an observer said when Mahoka told the embattled VP to rein in his excitable backers who have gone into premature celebration for his supposedly winning the Zanu PF succession battle.
Mugabe can’t afford more expulsions
Events of a politburo session that was meant to be a battle zone have left observers to conclude that the parties have once again been double crossed by President Mugabe, a sneaky political fox who has kept his stranglehold on the party by playing ambitious party factions against each other.
“It gives you the fillers as to where we are headed; that the President is in fact the leader of G40,” observed Tabani Moyo, a media rights activist and academic in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“His way of balancing up factional fights is that he scales up one and gives it a false impression that it’s now in control and when it starts believing that he then comes up like a tonne of bricks and bashes it.”
The Zanu PF factions were certainly not the only ones in the party’s history who have fallen for Mugabe’s trickery.
Ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru in 2004 could have been for forgiven to believe she had one foot at state house when she was imposed as VP ahead of clear favourite and party rival, Mnangagwa.
But, as fate would have it, the foot was after all, into the unviable backwater of opposition politics.
Harare based political analyst Kudzayi Kwangwari feels Mugabe cannot afford to continue dislodging party members any more.
“An aggressive action would have left Zanu PF further divided and weakened,” he says.
“President Mugabe knows that the party cannot afford further divisions at this stage. The hope is that the fighting will die down naturally.”
Kwangwari says instead of Mugabe trying to protect his throne through setting party factions against each, he may well be “throwing bones to busy Zimbabweans with nothing while real issues affecting their livelihoods were getting worse”.
Rejoice Ngwenya, another Harare based political analyst, concurs.
He says Mugabe has no more luxury to purge any party members for fear of rocking the boat at a time Joice Mujuru’s People First party was on a recruiting drive.
“The old man is petrified by rocking the boat, he has capacity to do that as President but he knows he will open the flood gates for an exodus to People First,” Ngwenya said.
“It is not about playing factions against each other, it is about survival as an individual. He would rather run a game of attrition and in his mind, he would say, may the best man win.
“If you notice, there is a convergence in the apex where the rival factions both say they are defending his interest.
“So he does not have any moral authority to diffuse any of the factions because they all claim allegiance to the emperor.”
Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF On Slippery Slope
THE much-hyped ZANU-PF Politburo meeting built up to an anti-climax as President Robert Mugabe, who had been expected to wield the axe, deftly avoided delving into specific issues in his address to hundreds of party supporters who gathered at the ruling party’s national headquarters ahead of the meeting yesterday.
Some party bigwigs have been calling on President Mugabe to act decisively on some of his top officials fighting a bitter verbal war which threatens to bring the whole country to a standstill and had many waiting for the meeting with bated breaths.
Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Jonathan Moyo and Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Political Detainees and Restrictees, Chris Mutsvangwa, have been publicly exchanging harsh words in both the mainstream and social media.
While details of yesterday’s meeting were still sketchy at the time of going to print, analysts doubted if the warring camps would be able to find each other in what has become a high stakes game.
They said while President Mugabe was doing everything to whip them into line, relations between them have irretrievably broken down.
This puts ZANU-PF on a slippery slope going into the elections in 2018.
ZANU-PF is still to recover ever since the expulsion of former vice president Joice Mujuru and her cabal last year on allegations of plotting to unseat the incumbent.
Efforts to restructure the party after getting rid of Mujuru and her acolytes have run into serious problems with the ghost of factionalism rearing its ugly head again.
With Mujuru having been banished from the party, only one faction had remained, that linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The latest bouts of factionalism point to the emergence of another group that is rallying behind the name Generation 40 (G40), which is now competing against the Mnangagwa camp in the succession race.
As the two groups savage each other, plots have been thickening fast, with the ultimate objective of weakening key members who might stand a good chance of succeeding the incumbent.
But President Mugabe, in his address yesterday, did not pay heed to calls on him to take immediate action on Moyo and Mutsvangwa.
It was still not clear by the time of going to print whether the issue had been put on the agenda of the Politburo meeting, convened immediately after President Mugabe’s speech.
Party supporters, bussed mainly from Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Harare provinces, had been called ostensibly to celebrate his tenure as chairman of the African Union (AU), which ended two weeks ago when he surrendered the chair to Chadian President, Idriss Déby Itno.
However, some of the gathering supporters claimed they did not even know what they had been called to do, while others said the event was organised by the party’s political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, who reportedly also financed the trips.
Kasukuwere is linked to G40, which is locked in a nasty succession wrangle with the other camp fronted by Mnangagwa.
In an unprecedented move, Women’s League secretary for finance, Sarah Mahoka, who reportedly is a key member of G40, was allocated a lot of time to speak.
Mahoka shocked the gathering when she challenged President Mugabe to bring Mnangagwa to order.
She also confronted Mnangagwa, calling on him to openly declare his alleged presidential ambitions which she said were crippling the party.
“You should today declare your ambitions because a lot of people are said to be in support of you and when we were even organising this event, we were told some people, especially those from your province (Midlands) were barred from coming. This is destroying the party. Baba (President Mugabe) you should speak about that here today so that it becomes clear. We don’t want you to be like a duck which keeps calm when an eagle is swooping on its children,” she charged.
But President Mugabe only laughed off Mahoka’s calls in his address which was mainly a chronicle of his AU chairmanship.
He, however, indicated that on Tuesday, he brought Mutsvangwa and Moyo together soon after the weekly Cabinet meeting and ordered them to stop denigrating each other in public.
Both men are Politburo members.
President Mugabe said he ordered the duo to bring reports of their grievances to the Politburo for deliberation, rather than rush to newspapers.
“We are worried; our ministers and Politburo members who have been scolding each other publicly like little children. That is not how we do things in ZANU-PF. If we do that, we bring shame on ourselves and on the party.”
“So after the Cabinet meeting yesterday (Tuesday), I sat down with them and told them: Stop it.
“We don’t want that. These are Politburo members, why should they be shouting at each other like that? If someone has a grievance against the other, he or she should bring it to the leadership of the party. We have structures to handle such issues and we should utilise those,” President Mugabe said.
He then immediately diverted attention to opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, saying a continuation of such infighting was giving him false hope that his day was nigh.
“That is giving even people like Tsvangirai to start thinking we are destroying ourselves and he can now start to dream about power not knowing he is only left with a little fraction of a party after it broke up into multiple fragments. We should by now be digging his political grave,” he said, much to the delight of the crowd before stepping down the podium.
Stakes were high leading to the event as, first, war veterans threatened to picket at the ZANU-PF headquarters to block Moyo from attending the Politburo meeting.
This forced G40 to hastily come up with a counterplot and gather women under the pretext of wanting to celebrate the President’s AU chairmanship.
The war veterans ended up deciding not to come.
The president himself admitted that he had not been informed of the gathering to commemorate his AU chairmanship until Monday this week.
Moyo, however, timed his arrival to coincide with President Mugabe’s address – when everyone had settled and calmed down.
There was also a pocket of a handful of supporters who stood in a corner, constantly shouting the names of Mutsvangwa and presidential spokesman, George Charamba, who ruffled furthers with an onslaught on Moyo and G40.
Mahoka had also called on President Mugabe to discipline Charamba over the matter, but the ZANU-PF lynchpin paid a deaf ear to it.
And as if to make an impression, Charamba importantly stepped up to the podium in the middle of President Mugabe’s speech and started to adjust the microphone which he spoke into despite the fact that it had not shown any problems.
He also adjusted his tie, meeting hymning displeasures from what appeared to be a pocket of rented would-be hecklers.
Mutsvangwa, at arrival, avoided limelight, sneaking through the crowds at the back before his Cabinet colleagues virtually unnoticed.
The anticipation of violence also attracted an unprecedented interest from the Police, army and the intelligence which each deployed quite a good number of its details.
ZANU-PF is facing probably its sternest test ever since the nation transited to majority rule in April 1980 with yesterday’s meeting of its most influential organ – the Politburo – seen doing very little to end internal fissures that are undermining government business.
Internecine infighting in President Mugabe’s party has left ZANU-PF in disarray with what started as behind-the-scenes succession fights, bursting into the open as officials tear each other apart.
Going into yesterday’s Politburo meeting, the highlight was supposed to be the report of the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC).
The NDC, chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, has been kept busy by the high incidents of indiscipline across provinces.
Mutsvangwa, the War Veterans Minister and chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) has his case before the committee, and was hoping for lady luck yesterday to escape censure.
Members of G40 have been baying for Mutsvangwa’s head, and have been within reach of achieving their objective after his home province, Mashonaland West, passed a vote of no confidence in the ZNLWVA chairman for undermining the First Family.
Another case before the NDC is that of Midlands executive committee members – July Moyo, Justice Mayor Wadyajena and Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube – who are accused of fomenting factionalism.
The trio are said to be aligned to Mnangagwa and have been waging a turf war against Cabinet Ministers, Tapiwa Matangaidze, Makhosini Hlongwane and Anastasia Ndlovu for not aligning to what they believe in.
ZANU-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo had also been quoted saying the party would discuss the abuse of the social media by party chefs.
This item appears to have been targeted at Moyo who has turned to his twitter to respond to verbal tirade from Mutsvangwa and Charamba, the presidential spokesman.