FORMER Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies, both in the ruling Zanu PF party and government, reportedly dumped his camp to save their political skin after President Robert Mugabe last week gave the greenlight for the massive purge.
BY OBEY MANAYITI/BLESSED MHLANGA
The officials, many of whom have already been shortlisted for disciplinary action for hobnobbing in Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction are reportedly nicodemusly approaching top officials in the rival camp, pleading for mercy and pledging to switch loyalty.
Mnangagwa was fired from government and Zanu PF last week on allegations of plotting to topple Mugabe from power.
The axe is likely to fall on several Cabinet ministers and politburo members who include Oppah Muchinguri (Water and Climate), Patrick Chinamasa (Cyber Security), Kembo Mohadi (State Security), Christopher Mushohwe (Presidential Scholarships), Josaya Hungwe (Psychomotor), among others.
“You will be surprised to see how people are making frantic efforts to cleanse themselves. They are desperate to disassociate themselves with Mnangagwa,” said a source who, however, declined to name the somersaulting Zanu PF career politicians.
“We are talking of people who have known no other political home except Zanu PF. They are knocking at every door to pledge loyalty to Mugabe. Some are have started denouncing Mnangagwa openly and this week of central committee elections, more will be coming.”
Chinamasa, who chairs the party’s national disciplinary committee and is also on the firing line, yesterday refused to comment on the matter.
“I cannot comment on that. Thank you,” he said.
Mohadi also refused to comment.
Mnangagwa’s known key ally, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube, who chairs Zanu PF Midlands province publicly denounced the former VP at the party headquarters last week after he was cornered and ordered to declare his allegiance.
Another suspected Mnangagwa backer, Transport minister Joram Gumbo acted as if it was business as usual when he officially renamed Harare International Airport to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on Thursday.
“They have to change with the winds otherwise they will be fired, Mnangagwa stood there and denounced the likes of Victor Matemadanda and Christopher Mutsvangwa when they were fired from the party. Why do these people have to act any differently,” the source said.
Midlands provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri refused to comment on the stance taken by the province on Mnangagwa.
However, a close source said the province was not going to ditch their godfather although it will be difficult to be openly hostile to Mugabe.
“We know the well-oiled violence machinery in Zanu PF, we have been part of it, so being openly hostile at the moment is not in our best interests, but Mnangagwa remains ours and he has our support. If you looked at all the provincial chairmen who denounced ED, only Manicaland chairman Samuel Undenge was sincere,” said the source.
In other provinces, Mnangagwa’s allies whose names were forwarded for disciplinary action are reportedly pleading with their leadership seeking for forgiveness.
Political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya said it was predictable that Zanu PF leaders will behave the way they are behaving. “Zanu PF politicians are not gifted with courage. My take is that they will do what Nicodemus did best — hide under the cover of darkness, lie prostrate at the feet of Mugabe and tearfully ask for his mercy,” he said.