ZANU PF hawks opposed to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe have reportedly devised a strategy to kick him out of both government and the ruling party through no-confidence votes emanating from various provinces, NewsDay has learnt.
The latest strategy was reportedly hatched recently, after earlier attempts by First Lady Grace Mugabe to expose Mnangagwa’s “shenanigans” seemed unsuccessful.
At a rally in Chiweshe two weeks ago, Grace launched a subtle attack on Mnangagwa, vowing she would push for his ouster on allegations of plotting to overthrow Mugabe.
In her attack, Grace also alleged the military could have been involved in a plot to kill her youngest child, Bellarmine Chatunga.
A few days after the rally, the military and war veterans reportedly met Mugabe and raised their concerns over the VP’s public humiliation.
Sources who attended the meeting said Grace was asked to desist from dragging the military into the succession wars and to stop stoking factional fires through her rallies.
With Grace’s move having failed and in a renewed bid to get rid of Mnangagwa, suspected members of the G40 faction met last Friday at a top Harare hotel, with provincial political commissars, where another plan was mooted.
Sources said the meeting, which spilled into the early hours of Saturday, was held with G40 proponents, who include Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, women’s league national secretary for finance Sarah Mahoka, several provincial commissars and other executives drawn from various provinces.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Kasukuwere said: “Whoever is peddling those rumours should just grow up. We are sick and tired of those lies. Who has the power to pass a vote of no-confidence on the VP?
“He is appointed by the President and it is not up to anyone in the party to challenge what the President has said. Those people should just shut up and allow us to concentrate on running the country.”
It is understood that the meeting reportedly agreed to mobilise party structures to oust Mnangagwa’s allies in the provinces.
“The meeting agreed to boot out Mnangagwa and the Midlands provincial co-ordinating committee through passing a vote of no-confidence,” a Zanu PF source told NewsDay on Tuesday.
“They agreed that the provincial commissars will push a vote of no-confidence on Mnangagwa. Mashonaland West will do that on Friday, February 26 (tomorrow), and then other provinces could follow suit.
“This will ratchet up pressure on Mugabe, who seemed unmoved by attacks on Mnangagwa last week.”
The source said Midlands province’s G40 proponents were asked to mobilise people from their constituencies to demonstrate at the provincial party offices and push for the dissolution of the provincial co-ordinating committee.
According to the sources, the party hawks had tasked a team to stage a series of demonstrations against the Midlands provincial executive, and pass votes-of-no-confidence in party deputy secretary for administration July Moyo, provincial deputy chairman Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, Gokwe-Kana MP Owen “Mudha” Ncube and Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena – all believed to be Mnangagwa’s close allies.
“The hired people will demand the suspension of Moyo, Ncube, Mackenzie Ncube and Wadyajena. Kasukuwere will then endorse the push,” the source said.
But, Midlands provincial commissar Makhosini Hlongwane, who allegedly attended the meeting, accused Mnangagwa’s blue-eyed boys of spreading the false information.
“Go and talk to Mudha and (spokesperson Cornelius) Mupereri,” he said.
“I know they are the ones, who gave you that information. I am not a small boy, you were given your information by those people, so go back to them and ask them to give you details of what transpired, who said what and where. That’s my official comment.”
But, Mupereri dismissed Hlongwane’s allegations, saying: “We were not at the meeting and, therefore, (we are) not party to that bogus arrangement, so (we) cannot peddle information over issues we are unaware of.”
Mahoka, who publicly berated Mnangagwa last week for not reining in his supporters, challenged people accusing her of plotting against the VP to “call her in person”.
“Those people should call me and discuss this matter with me, not through the Press. Otherwise if it’s not them, you are wasting my time and disturbing me,” the Hurungwe East legislator said before hanging up.
Kandros Mugabe, who was suspended from Zanu PF for five years on allegations of siding with axed former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, together with miner and businesswoman Smelly Dube have been fingered as major sponsors of the planned Midlands demonstrations.
However, Kandros yesterday denied being part of the alleged plot, saying the reports were meant to tarnish his political image.
“As you know, I am serving a suspension for five years and, therefore, have no influence in party structures. I, therefore, have no capacity to mobilise any Zanu PF structures and if that plan does exist, I am not party to it,” he said. Smelly Dube’s mobile phone initially went unanswered and later appeared, switched off.