THE Zanu PF succession politics took another nasty turn yesterday with party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo saying President Robert Mugabe was being misled by some senior members of the party.
Gumbo – in a strongly-worded statement released hardly 48 hours after Mugabe jetted in from China – warned the Zanu PF leader to guard against some of his trusted lieutenants whose mission was to “drive a regime change agenda” from within and railroad him to a crushing electoral defeat in 2018.
“We have always known that there is a regime change agenda in place, only this time it is being pushed by our own people under the guise of loving President Mugabe,” Gumbo said.
“This is unacceptable behaviour which smacks of deceit and a very high level of wickedness. We must all be wary of elements that feign love for President Mugabe and Zanu PF yet their real agenda is to divert President Mugabe’s attention from the core business of government in order to create problems for the party and for President Mugabe in 2018 when elections are due.”
He added:“Anyone who misdirects their focus to dwell on petty, narrow and immature politics is not only showing disrespect to President Mugabe who is genuinely determined to improve the welfare of the people – but is on the wrong side of history and should be ashamed of himself or herself.”
Gumbo’s remarks came as Mugabe, who has openly admitted that the ruling party has been infiltrated by “weevils”, ordered an emergency politburo meeting tomorrow to quell the storm.
The Zanu PF leader in June threatened stern action against those fingered.
However, this did not cool down the waters, which have now reached boiling point with ugly factional fights playing out in the public glare.
The recent entry of Mugabe’s wife First Lady Grace Mugabe into the political arena has stoked fires in the party’s complex succession matrix with the faction reportedly led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru flexing its muscles and attempting to block her. Grace is allegedly aligned to a rival faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have, however, denied leading any one of the factions and harbouring ambitions to succeed 90-year-old Mugabe.
Mugabe on Sunday seemed to confirm the fissures at Harare International Airport when he publicly chided some senior Zanu PF officials for allegedly abusing the name of the party for their selfish and personal gains ahead of the crunch elective congress in December.
He also attacked party officials attempting to block his wife’s ascendancy.
Last week, Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo had to issue a statement warning party members against abusing the First Lady’s name. This was after Edson Takataka, the Zanu PF Harare province Youth League vice-chairperson, was allegedly assaulted by rival faction members who accused him of supporting Grace’s endorsement to lead the Women’s League.