By Fungi Kwaramba and Hellen Kadirire
In arguably the most devastating blow to befall the Zanu PF faction rallying behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations, one of the Midlands godfather’s most trusted allies, July Moyo, has now also been booted out of the warring governing party.
Interim Zanu PF Midlands chairperson Tapiwa Matangaidze told the Daily News on Friday the province had unanimously resolved to kick out from the former liberation movement, many of the VP’s top allies — including Moyo, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, Owen Muda Ncube and Victor Matemadanda.
“The Midlands PCC (provincial coordinating committee) resolved to pass votes of no confidence in people such as July Moyo, Owen Muda Ncube, Victor Matemadanda, as well as Goodwills Shiri.
“They stand accused of gross misconduct, steering away from the national leadership, deliberately undermining the authority of the First Family, promoting factionalism, as well as running parallel structures and promoting the factional . . . Lacoste outfit at the expense of the party,” Matangaidze said.
Moyo — who has until now served in Cabinet and as Zanu PF’s deputy secretary for administration — has for long been accused by Mnangagwa’s party enemies of being the brains behind Team Lacoste and its leader’s alleged play for power.
A senior Zanu PF official linked to the party’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 — who are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — said the latest batch of purges “officially mark the end of Team Lacoste”.
“Listen, it doesn’t matter what they say to you, they are dead and buried, never to rise up again. We have now decapitated all the heads of this successionist outfit, meaning that it is all over, including for their leader (Mnangagwa),” the bigwig said confidently.
Repeated efforts to talk to the purged officials were fruitless, amid claims that the faction was having a secret meeting at an undisclosed venue to plot their counter-strategy.
At the same time, the Daily News was also reliably told that more wide-ranging purges of Mnangagwa’s supporters were set to visit the unstable provinces of Mashonaland East and Masvingo soon.
Meanwhile, Matangaidze claimed that more than 3 000 party members — comprising district chairpersons and the provincial leadership — had attended the meeting that decided to kick out Mnangagwa’s most loyal aides.
It appears that the purges were fast-tracked after claims had been made that Team Lacoste members in the province were planning to boot out G40 functionaries from the provincial structure — meaning that the votes of no confidence were meant to forestall any such moves.
Ironically, Matangaidze — who was recently appointed interim Midlands chairperson by national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere — had himself been a victim of the party’s notorious votes of no confidence, together with ministers Makhosini Hlongwane and Annastacia Ndhlovu, for allegedly disrespecting the province’s political leadership that was then in place.
Matangaidze also made it clear that they were not done yet with the purges.
“The national disciplinary committee is also considering several other cases of indiscipline in the province. The cabal’s (Team Lacoste’s) attempts at trying to defeat the course of justice will simply just be ignored.
“We are moving on. If the cabal calls its illegal meeting as threatened, it would have effectively formed its own party, as they do not recognise our headquarters and do not respect the party’s decisions. They can go. They will not be missed by anyone,” he thundered.
Until now, Midlands has also been seen as Mnangagwa’s stronghold, a perception that has strengthened the G40s determination to snap Team Lacoste’s back there.
As the ugly factional and succession wars ripping Zanu PF apart continue to escalate, insiders have also said a major Cabinet shake-up — likely to deliver another devastating blow to Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential aspirations — is imminent.
Well-placed sources who spoke to the Daily News’s sister paper, the Daily News on Sunday last week claimed that the planned Cabinet reshuffle — part of looming and widespread changes that would also affect the top echelons of the civil service, as well as the security sector — would be targeted at Team Lacoste.
“These plans have been on and off the table a number of times since last year, but things appear to be moving swiftly now because of the nonsense (Zanu PF ructions) that is getting worse. I think there is a renewed determination to end this once and for all,” one of the sources said.
But another senior Zanu PF official, while also confirming the long-mooted plans, said he was “not sure that . . . Mugabe will make a move on this right away” — given the recent formal launch of former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF).
“Look, that talk of a reshuffle is not new, and I believe that there is substance to it. However, I’m not sure that Mugabe will make a move on this right away.
“The launch of People First may just delay things further as he may want to see how everything pans out,” the bigwig said.
But a youth official linked to the G40 said the beleaguered VP’s faction “know that they are toast” with the pending shake-ups.
“All the Team Lacoste successionists, wherever they sit — in Cabinet, in the security sector or as permanent secretaries — know that they are toast. Nothing will save them, unless they completely repent, get rid of their successionist tendencies and beg for forgiveness from Gushungo (Mugabe),” he said.
However, a politburo member who claims to be “non-aligned” in Zanu PF’s deadly and seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars, said widespread changes across government would be “regrettable” and only serve to consolidate the rampant factionalism destroying the party.
“As you know, I’m non-aligned, and therefore have no interest per se in the current fights. My interest is our party and I firmly believe that it will be regrettable were widespread changes to be effected across the board.
“There, clearly, is a need by the leadership to stop the worsening bloodletting, but more sackings, suspensions and expulsions are not the answer.
“If anything, they will probably worsen the already untenable situation, which is having a major negative impact on the whole country and its economy,” the party heavyweight said.
Dozens of Cabinet ministers, senior civil servants and security chiefs could lose their jobs if Mugabe decides to wield the axe as mooted, with virtually all the changes meant to “finish off” the Mnangagwa faction.
Mugabe has reshuffled his Cabinet line-up at least three times, since the brutal ouster from high office of Mujuru and her allies in late 2014 — shake-ups that both insiders and critics say have only served to cement Zanu PF’s raging infighting, while also effectively sabotaging the functioning of government in the process.
Mugabe sacked Mujuru and 16 ministers and deputy ministers in December 2014, after accusing the ZPF leader and her followers of plotting to assassinate and topple him from power.
While Mnangagwa and his allies were the major beneficiaries of that initial purge, the nonagenarian has since moved to neutralise Team Lacoste and also affirm the Midlands godfather’s detractors in his disjointed Cabinet.
This latest dose of bad news for Team Lacoste comes a mere fortnight after nearly two dozen bigwigs linked to Mnangagwa, including former War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and his wife Monica, were booted out of the ruling party.
Zanu PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News after the party’s politburo announced the purges also said it was “all over bar the shouting” for the beleaguered camp in its wilting quest to get the Midlands godfather to succeed Mugabe.
In addition to suspending Mutsvangwa and his wife from the party for three years, the former liberation movement also summarily expelled from within its ranks 14 youth leaders — including Godfrey Gomwe, Godfrey Tsenengamu, Vengai Musengi and Edmore Samambwa. Daily News