Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa faced a major party revolt yesterday, as 10 Zanu PF chairpersons and commissars censured him for associating with expelled and suspended party members, as the fallout over a New Year’s Eve party he hosted deepens.
The unprecedented attack on the Vice-President – considered a front runner to succeed the soon-to-be 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe – followed weekend revelations that he wined and dined with Zanu PF renegades at a party held in Mapunzure, Zvishavane, on New Year’s Eve.
In a statement on behalf of the provincial chairpersons and political commissars after a meeting in Harare yesterday, Manicaland provincial chairperson, Samuel Undenge said they were concerned about party leaders, who continued to associate with Zanu PF rejects, although they did not name Mnangagwa.
“This kind of behaviour puts doubt on those leaders’ commitment and loyalty to decisions that are made by Zanu PF collectively, as party leaders should not be seen to be associating and entertaining people, who were expelled from the party for indiscipline, which involved disrespect of the party leadership,” Undenge said.
“As the party’s leaders in the provinces, we call upon all party leaders and all party structures to focus and redirect all efforts at uniting the party and prepare it to win the harmonised election coming in 2018.
“No one in the party should divert the party’s focus from this revolutionary goal.”
Mnangagwa was accused of plotting to topple Mugabe last week, when pictures of him drinking from a mug inscribed “I am the boss” that were taken at the party were leaked on social media.
The Zanu PF Midlands godfather appeared in the picture with controversial businessman, Energy Mutodi, a fierce Mugabe critic, who claims to be a member of the ruling party and has been doing the Vice-President’s bidding.
Mnangagwa claimed Mutodi had gate-crashed the party, but pictures of the Vice-President with suspended and
expelled Zanu PF officials at the party in Mapanzure have since surfaced.
The majority of the expelled Zanu PF officials, who attended Mnangagwa’s party, were disciplined for advancing the interests of a faction linked to the Vice-President.
The party’s provincial leaders seemed particularly peeved that Mnangagwa had hosted Mutodi, who continues to denigrate Mugabe at every turn.
“As the Zanu PF leaders in the provinces, we wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, sentiments being expressed by some rogue discredited party elements such as one Energy Mutodi, who unrelentlessly (sic) continue to use the media to attack our party leader,” the statement said.
“Energy Mutodi has no mandate to speak on behalf of Zanu PF nor is he in the leadership structures of the party and, therefore, should stop, henceforth, this habit of denigrating our party leader.”
Mutodi was quoted in the Daily News, saying Zanu PF should hold an extraordinary congress to unseat Mugabe and enthrone Mnangagwa.
Earlier this month, Mnangagwa was quoted in The Herald claiming he had only hosted a family party, which Mutodi gate-crashed, but images leaked on social media show that it was much bigger than that, and the backlash over the fiasco is much bigger than a storm in a mug, literally.
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, a fierce opponent of Mnangagwa, drew a link between Mutodi’s Facebook attacks on Mugabe and his meeting with the Vice-President – forcing the then acting President to issue a bizarre statement in which he appeared to suggest that the musician posed as an MP to gain access.
A number of Zanu PF officials have confirmed to having attended the party, discrediting Mnangagwa’s statement in State media.
Some of the officials, who attended the meeting included former Home Affairs deputy minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, former provincial youth chairpersons, Vengai Musengi (Mashonaland West), Washington Nkomo (Matabeleland South), Edmore Samambwa (Midlands) and Tawanda Mukodza (Manicaland).
Former Masvingo provincial chairperson, Ezra Chadzamira, Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke, National Railways of Zimbabwe board chairperson, Larry Mavima, youth chairperson for Midlands province, Prosper Machando, Manicaland businessman and Zanu PF politician, Albert Nyakuedzwa, Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavima and former Zanu PF provincial chairman for Manicaland, Mike Madiro were also at the New Year’s Eve gathering.
Yesterday’s meeting was attended by eight provincial chairpersons. Daniel McKenzie Ncube stood in for Midlands chairman, Joram Gumbo, while the Bulawayo chairperson did not attend, but was also represented.
The women’s league was represented by First Lady Grace Mugabe’s secretary, while national secretary for youth affairs, Kudzi Chipanga represented the youth wing.
Speaking at the same meeting, Zanu PF commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere said the party was already rolling out a restructuring exercise in preparation for the 2018 general elections.