HARARE – Warring Zanu PF bigwigs come face to face at what promises to be an explosive central committee meeting in Harare today, ahead of the ruling party’s National Consultative Assembly tomorrow, as insiders say the strife-torn former liberation movement has split again.
A senior official who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said bluntly that he was “very worried” about the future of the party, which has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980, as its seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars get uglier by the day.
“The central committee is meeting under a very dark cloud despite Gushungo’s (President Robert Mugabe’s) best efforts to rid the party of the demon of factionalism and tribalism.
“The reality is that after the Gamatox (party faction that was loyal to former Vice President Joice Mujuru) split last year, the party has once again effectively split between Team Lacoste (party faction loyal to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa) and the G40 (group of ambitious young party Turks who are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe).
As if to confirm the bigwig’s fears, some party officials threatened to “expose” Mnangagwa and his camp in front of Mugabe today — as the Midlands godfather’s followers become increasingly more militant in their demands that he succeeds the nonagenarian.
Zanu PF Masvingo chairperson, Amasi Nenjana — who is linked to the G40 — told the Daily News yesterday that he would report alleged Team Lacoste kingpins from the province, Shuvai Mahofa and Josiah Hungwe, for allegedly “stealing from First Lady Grace Mugabe”.
“I am going to tell the president loudly and clearly that these people are thieves who have stolen form the First Lady and the disabled,” Nenjana said.
This follows allegations by provincial women’s league chairperson Veronica Makonese last weekend that Mahofa had converted to her own personal use $2 000 that she had donated to Grace on her 50th birthday last year.
All the startling accusations also come after Mnangagwa’s allies in the province allegedly sought to silence Makonese by recently passing a vote of no confidence in her, along with regional political commissar Jeppy Jaboon and youth league chairperson Norbert Ndaarombe.
Masvingo legislator and Zanu PF deputy secretary for transport in the politburo, Daniel Shumba, also recently accused Mahofa and Hungwe of distributing to their relatives maize that was meant for people living with disabilities in the province.
Contacted for a comment by the Daily News, Hungwe would only say the allegations had not yet been formally put to him, while Mahofa’s mobile phone was not reachable all of yesterday.
But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo played down fears that today’s central committee meeting would be fiery.
“Tomorrow’s (today’s) central committee meeting is routine. We hold such meetings after every three months, that is four times a year, while the politburo is held once every month. The central committee meeting is not extraordinary, it is a scheduled meeting,” he said.
However, Nenjana said he would also inform Mugabe during today’s meeting that Mahofa, together with her politburo counterparts Hungwe and Pupurai Togarepi, were planning to sue him over the government’s failure to compensate war collaborators.
“I will also inform him of the evil plot to drag him (Mugabe) and government to court, a plot that they hatched during a meeting of the Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborations Association (Ziliwaco) that was addressed by Mahofa at the weekend in Gutu,” he said.
He also alleged that Mahofa, Hungwe and others rallying behind Mnangagwa were in the “horrible habit” of using the Midlands godfather’s name to intimidate their political rivals in the province.
“I will tell the president in the central committee all that they have done, including that they have manipulated party structures in the province to suit their factional agenda.
“I have been quiet for long time hoping that we would eventually find each other, but now I will not remain silent. I am a war veteran myself and will not be dragged into factional politics because I know one leader of the party, President Mugabe.
“I will confront them in the central committee meeting because they will be there as well,” Nenjana charged.
In his broadside, Shumba claimed that Hungwe and Mahofa had used maize meant for the disabled to pay Zanu PF youths who they were using to campaign against sitting MPs they accused of backing the G40.
“Each constituency was supposed to get 44,9 tonnes of maize with 900kg meant for the disabled, but MPs reported to the provincial executive that vulnerable groups were crying foul as the maize never reached them because the process which was supposed to include MPs, district administrators and the social welfare department was manipulated.
It’s (the Mnangagwa faction) a den of thieves that is being exposed,” he said.
Last Sunday Makonese also narrated during a media conference in Harare how Mahofa was allegedly intimidating her after she enquired about the money.
“I gave her $2 000 to hand over to the first lady for her orphanage but she converted it to her own use and when I asked her, she got mad about it and that is the price I am now paying.
“She wanted to take the money from the $20 000 that was donated by Tongaat Hullet, asking me to lie that they had given us $18 000 but I refused,” Makonese claimed further.
She also accused Mahofa of only tolerating people who massaged her ego and did not question her alleged corrupt tendencies in the women’s league.
“She does not want women who appear to be clever. The moment you do that she uses her position to fight you and since I became the women’s league chairperson I have endured mental torture at her hands.
“Out of fear, as well as the need for freebies that she promises those who dance to her tune, women tend to follow her. She threatens them saying she is close to the president and that nothing will happen to her even if she was exposed,” Makonese said.