HURUNGWE East legislator Sarah Mahoka (Zanu PF) yesterday warned Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa he risked “dying” if he does not rein in party officials abusing his name and campaigning for him to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
Mahoka’s chilling warning came at a gathering of the Zanu PF women’s league at the ruling party’s headquarters, while Mugabe and other officials sat stone-faced.
“Please, VP Mnangagwa, can you reprimand your people?” she thundered. “They are terrorising us. You cannot sit there like a duck and say nothing. We did not gather here to fight, but to support the President and we support the leadership he chose. We are not saying Mnangagwa must be removed.
“But 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),” Mahoka said adding: “We do not have an issue with VP (Phelekezela) Mphoko. He has declared he is not angling for the Presidency. We also have not said the First Lady should be president or VP”.
Mnangagwa did not move a muscle, while Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe watched in silence, as Mahoka turned her guns on the President’s spokesman George Charamba and The Herald, which she accused of lying.
“We want to know if the President sent him. He [Charamba] must not run his mouth and The Herald must stick to issues that help people,” she said, after asking the Minister of State in Mphoko’s Office, Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga to read a transcript from Charamba’s interview with ZiFM.
Charamba had ripped into unnamed members of the G40, a grouping within Zanu PF said to be opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding the President, warning them he was speaking for Mugabe and that they would soon “come to grief”.
Mugabe acknowledged Mahoka’s claims, before narrating a cryptic story about a woman he once lived next to.
“She was in the habit of shouting at everybody whenever her child came home crying,” he said, “without even seeking to understand whether it was her child who was wrong or not.”
As Mugabe spoke, Charamba suddenly walked up to the podium and adjusted the microphone, before quickly disappearing to the back of the crowd. At that moment, Charamba was heckled by a number of women and youths that included Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s wife Letina.
“Charamba must be removed. The party must not be infested with termites,” they chanted.
Mugabe did not respond to the demands on Charamba directly, but said: “Yes, termites can only be exterminated with bicarbonate of soda and not gamatox,” to applause.
Women’s league deputy secretary Eunice Sandi-Moyo weighed in: “Our people are being intimidated in the provinces and we want that to stop. Some buses have been attacked, while others were denied the chance to come here.”
Mugabe said: “I think there was some miscommunication. I also only got to know about this the day before yesterday (Tuesday). Some people might have misunderstood and the political commissar will look into the issues where people were blocked.”
Grace called for unity in the party.
“We must unite and stop the discord,” she said.
“It is not necessary and the private media cannot be blamed because we feed them with these things. We respect our war veterans, but we have said people must forgive each other. Some people seem to have gone to school to learn obscenities. When you see us keeping quiet, it does not mean we are fools.
“We cannot be seen to be washing our dirty linen in public. There is the politburo. Bring your issues and let us discuss. We cannot overburden the politburo with these petty fights when there are serious national issues like the drought and delivering on the election promises.”
Mugabe said he had also taken advantage of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting to reprimand his warring officials, while the politburo would also be seized with the same issue.
“We talked about it and I asked them to stop this nonsense,” he said.