HARARE – Despite the many desperate pleas by President Robert Mugabe to his warring minions to end the mindless bloodletting devouring Zanu PF, the party’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars are intensifying alarmingly in his riotous home province of Mashonaland West.
And as the anarchy reigns in the nonagenarian’s backyard, the province has now moved to boot another senior official from the troubled party, after the women’s league passed the dreaded vote of no confidence in its regional chairperson, Angelina Muchemenyi, on Tuesday.
Officially, Muchemenyi stands accused of being allegedly “disloyal” to Zanu PF, fanning divisions in the party and being “deceitful in her conduct” — among the usual cocktail of charges.
But well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that in reality Muchemenyi’s crime was her alleged links to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who stands accused of harbouring presidential ambitions and working to stampede Mugabe from power.
“Her irregular ouster is simply yet another scheme by the G40 (ambitious Zanu PF Young Turks known as the Generation 40 group who are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe) to decimate us (the Mnangagwa faction),” a senior party official linked to Team Lacoste said.
Before Muchemenyi, the factional and succession wars ripping Zanu PF apart in Mashonaland West have claimed the careers of many other bigwigs, including former politburo member and War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, as well as provincial executive members Fani Phiri, Simon Solomon, Philemon Ndushu and Sibongile Bhebhe.
When the provincial women’s league showed Muchemenyi the exit door, it vigorously recommended to the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) that she be expelled from the party forthwith.
“…Muchemenyi was the main perpetrator of factional politics in the women’s league.
“We have it on good record that she was attending unsanctioned gatherings that undermined the existence of the party by perpetuating the Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) agenda,” Margaret Chidarikire, the provincial women’s league secretary said in a letter to Zanu PF national secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo.
Chidarikire also accused her boss of attending a war veterans’ meeting in Chinhoyi last week where Muchemenyi allegedly chanted slogans denouncing the G40, the national women’s league headed by powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe and the Mashonaland West party provincial leadership.
“Mashonaland West women’s league therefore finds Muchemenyi guilty of violating sections 266(a), 266(b) and 266(c) of the party’s constitution … Her conduct is not consistent with the duties of a member of the party as provided for in Article 3:21 of the party constitution.
“We therefore, recommend that the former chairlady be expelled from the party in accordance with article 267 (c) of the Zanu PF constitution,” Chidarikire said further.
The letter was copied to Grace, national political commissar Savior Kasukuwere and Zanu PF provincial chairperson Ephraim Chengeta.
The latest developments come as the Daily News reported exclusively earlier in the week that conspiracy theories were flying thick and fast within the Mnangagwa camp, after a number of party stalwarts associated with the faction perished in motor vehicle accidents last weekend.
A senior Zanu PF official linked to Team Lacoste, while careful not to ventilate emotions and point fingers at anyone, told the newspaper that they were “very concerned that comrades are dying in this manner”.
“Yes, people are talking (about the motor vehicle deaths). But as you will also remember, there is always talk in our country each time politicians and other prominent Zimbabweans die, more so in car accidents.
“It has not helped matters that we have lost three valued comrades in two car accidents over one weekend, at a time that the party (Zanu PF) is facing many challenges. It makes it difficult for people to understand and accept this, hence the speculation,” the official said.
First to die in a road accident involving three cars in Kadoma on Friday was former women’s league secretary for administration, Espinah Nhari — with party sources claiming that she had been dealing with “significant trauma” in the days leading to the tragedy, as a result of her political ostracisation in Zanu PF.
Nhari was suspended from the warring governing party early this year after she decampaigned Mnangagwa’s party enemies saying “Pasi neG40 (Down with G40) at a rally in Masvingo.
And to compound the pain and fear currently pervading the Mnangagwa camp, two war veterans aligned to the faction died in a separate vehicle accident also at the weekend, on their return from a meeting in Gwanda where they were campaigning for the beleaguered VP.
Mnangagwa’s allies have been on a whirlwind tour of the country’s provinces to drum up support for him, as Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars continue to escalate.