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Boost for struggling Mnangagwa faction

By Lloyd Mbiba

HARARE – The faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, which is still reeling from a devastating Zanu PF Youth League rout, is  now allegedly working closely with the Gushungo clan (or Third Force) to upset Vice President Joice Mujuru’s rise to the presidency.

Succession Race: Mujuru battles it out with Mnangagwa
Succession Race: Mujuru battles it out with Mnangagwa

With the succession battle getting nastier amid allegations and counter allegations of abductions and intimidation, official sources claimed the Mnangagwa faction is now working hand in glove with President Robert Mugabe’s kinsmen, including his wife Grace.

The Women’s League, led by Oppah Muchinguri, recently arm-twisted women to endorse Grace to be nominated as the secretary for Women’s League.

Although Grace’s nomination was regarded by observers as a masterstroke stitched by the Mnangagwa faction, the First Lady’s entrance into politics has not transformed into popular support.

On Monday night, Muchinguri alongside Jonathan Moyo, Savior Kasukuwere and Edna Madzongwe roped in Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao and Phillip Chiyangwa who claims to be related to Mugabe, ostensibly to raise funds for the forthcoming Women’s League conference.

Although Madzongwe claimed that the four men, who are part of the so-called fund raising committee, had been roped in to raise funds for the conference, insiders claimed the make-up points to an alliance between the Mnangagwa and Gushungo clan.

Monday’s ad hoc press conference at the Zanu PF headquarters was allegedly  organised by officials from Moyo’s Information ministry and left out the party’s Information department,  headed by Rugare Gumbo — a key ally of Mujuru.

Party insiders told the Daily News that prior to the press briefing, the Mnangagwa faction and the Gushungo clan members’ caucused at the Heroes Acre, during the Heroes Day celebrations.

“I saw Madzongwe, Ignatius (Chombo) and Moyo caucusing at the Heroes Acre,” a politburo member told the Daily News. “I didn’t suspect anything, but now that they are holding press conferences, I am beginning to suspect that they are up to something.”

However, Zhuwao vehemently denied that he backed the Mnangagwa faction.

“Whoever said that is an inconceivable idiot and that statement comes from a coward,” Zhuwao told theDaily News yesterday.

“Any person who doesn’t have courage to come and speak direct to me is a charlatan in the same way as (Morgan) Tsvangirai and all western puppets.”

He said his donation to the Women’s League was above aboard.

“The Women’s League came to me for help,” Zhuwao said. “I believe that was a transparent request and I felt I had to do something because the Women’s League is an import organ of the party. Be rest assured, we will continue supporting the party and its organs. We don’t support only in words but also in action.

“In any case, the meat will be eaten by all delegates regardless of which faction they belong to or which perceived individual they support.”

Chiyangwa also refuted claims that he was working with the Mnangagwa faction.

“I am a fundraiser and am not part of that matter. I don’t want to be dragged into such matters because I am simply a fundraiser,” he said.

During the Monday press conference, Muchinguri tore into party colleagues, including organisers of the chaotic youth conference, who included national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and Webster Shamu, the national political commissar in an unprecedented move. Muchinguri did not mention names but it was clear she meant three party heavyweights.

Mutasa, Khaya Moyo and Shamu are all linked to the Mujuru faction.

“It has become necessary for the (Women’s) League to make these arrangements and take full control of the logistical requirements following very disturbing and deplorable reports that some of its members in some provinces are being regimented into factional interests that are against the party principles, values and constitution in pursuit of personal ambition and related agendas,” Muchinguri said. Daily News

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