By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
The Zanu PF provincial minister and interim chairperson of a splinter war veterans’ grouping, Mandi Chimene, has accused Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa of dividing the ruling Zanu PF by remaining quiet over his reported ambition to replace President Robert Mugabe.
Chimene is believed to belong to the Generation 40 (G40) faction that is locked in a fierce battle with a camp led by Mnangagwa who has for long been said to be angling for Mugabe’s position.
A group of war veterans has publicly backed Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s heir, a position fiercely opposed by the G40 team, and recently described Mugabe as a dictator.
Chimene last week called on Mugabe to fire Mnangagwa from the party, accusing him of running a parallel government.
In an interview with the weekly Standard newspaper, Chimene said she had no hard feelings for Mnangagwa but wanted him to defend Mugabe when he was attacked by the war vets.
“For the record, this is not personal or about being power-hungry, but being principled to the ideals and ethos of the struggle, which is following the command of the president.
“I don’t hate the VP (Vice President Mnangagwa) but I am saying he should have defended his boss when he was being attacked by people who were using his name.
“He remained quiet as if he was not there, that is the biggest mistake he made. This divided us, hence we are fighting,” said Chimene.
Mnangagwa has since distanced himself from the rebellious war vets and vowed his loyalty to Mugabe, who he said was his “principal mentor”.
Chimene leads a faction of former liberation fighters who Mugabe ordered top form a new leadership to replace the one led by Christopher Mutsvangwa that called on Mugabe to step down and be replaced by Mnangagwa.
She, however, said she would not steer the new association leadership, saying she was “not chairperson material”, despite being a provincial minister.
“After realising the level of factionalism and intimidation that has been going on in the party and plots to overthrow our president, I, as a war veteran, am duty bound to defend my leader. I decided to speak out and question those who are doing it,” said Chimene in reference to the alleged Mnangagwa succession plot.
“He (Mnangagwa) allowed his name to be used and abused, I assume, going by what he said, and today he tells us we are barking. We will bark in support of our president, not rebels.
When people were declaring him to be the next leader, he did not say they were barking, he remained quiet, now today, he is telling us we are barking, let him think so,” added Chimene.
The vice president last Friday referred to Chimene and others who were accusing him of harbouring presidential ambitions as dogs whose barking inspired him. Nehanda Radio