Emmerson Mnangagwa fights back
By Richard Chidza
HARARE – A group reportedly linked to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is pushing for the dissolution of the Zanu PF politburo, it has emerged.
The development comes as a group of hardliners, fronted by Jonathan Moyo, is also fighting the adoption of a constitutional draft which could put a lid to President Robert Mugabe’s succession war through a clause enabling presidential candidates to choose running mates.
A politburo meeting slated for today was expected to tackle the issue of the draft constitution and hardliners who have military backing were strategising to push for the powerful organ to reject the draft.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed there was a groundswell of discontent from the Midlands Province — a Mnangagwa stronghold. He however, refused to confirm that today’s politburo meeting will proceed, saying he was yet to get more details.
Mnangagwa and military generals eyeing Mugabe’s seat will lose out if the draft is adopted as the supreme law since the 88-year-old is almost certain to pick his two deputies as running mates for the next elections, which puts them ahead of the pack.
But the Defence minister and his supporters are also fighting on another front after Mugabe disbanded district grassroots structures which are key in shaping the succession battle. Insiders say Mnangagwa’s camp had taken control of most of the DCCs, making him frontrunner at an electoral congress.
Gumbo was evasive when asked if Mnangagwa controlled the camp which is disputing the disbanding of the DCCs and is now calling for the dissolution of the politburo.
“It is in the Midlands where some demanded the dissolution of the politburo and this at the instigation of some central committee members who surprisingly were present when the decision to disband the DCCs was made,” he said, adding though that Zanu PF would deal ruthlessly with dissent.
He said faction leaders who were using the DCCs to push their presidential ambitions were yet to publicly speak on the issue. “We have not received any response from those fighting to succeed the President. The party though will deal severely with any dissent,” he said.
“The DCCs were dissolved because of the succession issue, but I cannot say if the objections we received in the Midlands had anything to do with succession,” said Gumbo. The province is among those miffed by the disbandment of the DCCs whose elections were marred by allegations of vote-buying, cheating and violence.
Mnangagwa’s rival, Vice President Joice Mujuru, had been clobbered even in her home province of Mashonaland Central — leading to suggestions she was losing her quest to replace Mugabe. DCCs were responsible for coordinating party activities on the ground and were a powerful electoral college.
On Monday, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa warned Zanu PF was “developing teeth and would soon bite” faction leaders, even those in top positions. He gave examples of how Ndabaningi Sithole and Edgar Tekere — who were president and secretary-general of the party at some point — but were fired from Zanu PF.
“We are going to follow up on everyone who has been leading these factions. The people are known and we just want to be factual before taking action,” said Mutasa. Daily News