HARARE – Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is behind the latest spate of secret rallies that are being held by a group of disenchanted war veterans, the Daily News has learnt.
One of the key conveners of the meetings, Jimayi Muduvuri, who has been for long associated with first lady Grace Mugabe, told this paper that at one point he confronted Mnangagwa on allegations that he was leading a faction known as Team Lacoste in the deeply divided Zanu PF.
According to Jimayi, who is a central committee member, Mnangagwa distanced himself from the faction and dispatched him to go around the country’s 10 provinces with the mission to smoke out people who were “dragging the VP’s name into the mud”.
“I am travelling with the war veterans through a programme that I was assigned to by the VP.
“This was after I had asked the VP whether he was leading any faction and if the people who were using his name were his emissaries and he said to me ‘I never told anyone that I wanted to take over from the president’.
Zanu PF is presently divided along two factions that are fiercely opposed to each other and so stark are the divisions that even government programmes have been adversely affected as rivals try to score political goals even putting lives of millions on the line.
Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste camp is engaged in a succession battle with the generation 40 (G40) faction — something that even President Robert Mugabe has alluded to.
But Muduvuri told the Daily News that judging from what he has seen from the six provinces he has traversed factions are none-existent or “are being pushed by cowards who are hiding behind a finger”.
“I am observing what is happening on the ground and people have proved that they were not sent by anyone. I asked the war veterans whether they were sent by the VP and they said NO.
“I have also spoken to the political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and he never gave me a satisfactory answer on the existence of a faction known as G40 or Team Lacoste.”
Kasukuwere and a group of young Zanu PF MPs are accused of being members of the G40 faction.
Ironically and despite Muduviri’s claims, some war veterans have publicly admitted that they were siding with Mnangagwa and have openly chanted slogans like “pasi ne G40” at rallies during their secret meetings.
“My slogan wherever I go is let us stop fighting. My
position has not changed let’s us not tamper with the president.
“He is our president and I have told anyone who cares to listen that he will not be removed by anyone because we are all behind him,” said Muduvuri.
“It is not easy to confront the VP but I did that because his name has been prominent in factional issues.
“But he told me that he is just a mere VP. He told me that he will never attempt to take power from the president and I asked him how do we prove it and he said endai munotsvaka wandakatuma (find the emissaries)”.
Pressure has been mounting on Mnangagwa, who is nicknamed the crocodile, to publicly chastise some loose cannons that have been hiding behind his name.
But true to his moniker, he has been silent and now appears to be relying on proxies.
“I have been to six provinces and we are now left
with the provinces of Midlands, where we must go immediately, Matabeleland North, Bulawayo and Masvingo.
“I am not Team Lacoste, I am not G40, ndiri mwana wababa namai (I belong to) Mugabe,” said Muduvuri.
The hitherto unknown Kadoma-based businessman said he was recently hauled before the province of Mashonaland West disciplinary committee and “I told them that I will not be stopped by you on a mission to unite the party. I was send by the VP, who are they to stop me.”