FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru is allegedly working with a faction of the ruling party known as Generation 40 (G40), comprising hawkish Young Turks, former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman, Temba Mliswa, has claimed.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Mliswa told NewsDay yesterday, on the sidelines of a Press conference, where he sought to refute reports linking him to a possible return to the ruling party, he is “engaged in talks” to get Mujuru “readmitted into Zanu PF”.
“Mujuru and the other old people (Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa) will only be useful in Zanu PF. Actually, I am working hard engaging some people to have them readmitted into Zanu PF,” he said.
“Mujuru can only be powerful in Zanu PF. It is the only place she has a chance, maybe, of being President.”
But Gumbo scoffed at the claims.
“It is not even necessary to comment on such claims. We will be giving credence to nonsense and would rather let this pass,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo also seemed to brush off Mliswa’s claims.
“I have no idea because I have not been in touch with Mliswa or the group you are referring to,” he said.
Asked if there has been contact with Mujuru since her expulsion, the Zanu PF information chief said: “I am not aware of any.”
Along with Mujuru and Mutasa, Gumbo is part of a loose coalition of former Zanu PF liberation stalwarts reportedly mulling the formation of a party currently going by the name People First.
Mliswa is one of nine chairpersons kicked out of the ruling party last year as internal power struggles within Zanu PF reached boiling point.
They were accused of being part of a faction then reportedly led by Mujuru, who was at the time Zanu PF’s number two. Mujuru stood accused of being the leader of a plot to oust President Robert Mugabe.
Mliswa claimed Mujuru was now working with Young Turks within the ruling party opposed to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The group (G40), according to reports, boasts among its ranks the likes of Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.
“The G40 has realised that it is losing grip, they are losing the internal war with Mnangagwa because the ongoing restructuring exercise has left Mnangagwa firmly in charge. His (Mnangagwa’s) people are in charge of Manicaland, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East.
“I can tell you that all chairpersons who romped to victory in the internal restructuring in Hurungwe West were the people I worked with during my time and they are backing Mnangagwa,” he said.
While Mugabe’s lieutenants, including Mnangagwa, continue to deny harbouring any ambitions to lead the former guerilla movement, the situation on the ground has remained volatile amid violent clashes and accusations of intimidation and vote-buying.
There have been fistfights in Manicaland and an attempt to depose Mashonaland East provincial chairman, Biggie Matiza.
In Manicaland, women’s league provincial chairperson Happiness Nyakuedzwa’s ouster has been met with stiff resistance, but Kasukuwere has reportedly insisted she should be fired for “failure to respect First Lady Grace Mugabe”.
Mliswa said the resistance that Kasukuwere was facing should have been shown “during our time”.
“This is what we wanted, but the likes of Mutasa kept on claiming things would be fine. The resistance that the G40 group is facing despite their borrowed power should have been used to keep Mujuru in the party,” he said.
“However, I am not going back to Zanu PF because, principally, we do not agree. I do not agree with violence and I have no reason to go back to a party where clearly I am already labelled a Mnangagwa person.”