VP takes fight to Moyo

HARARE – Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will today get an opportunity to present a dossier to the Zanu PF politburo on Cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo’s alleged plot to destroy the former liberation movement from within as the infighting ripping apart the deeply-divided party escalates.

Mnangagwa is likely to be subdued when he presents his report before the Soviet-styled politburo after he became the biggest casualty of a Cabinet reshuffle announced by President Robert Mugabe on Monday.

Although he retained his vice presidency, Mnangagwa lost the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio to a newcomer, Happyton Bonyongwe — formerly the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation.

Four of his key allies in Cabinet, Prisca Mupfumira, Tshinga Dube, Faber Chidarikire and Abednico Ncube were fired, while others were re-assigned to less influential ministries.

Patrick Chinamasa, a long time confidante of his, lost the Finance portfolio to Ignatius Chombo, while Christopher Mushohwe was shunted from the Information ministry to become the minister of State in the President’s Office Responsible for National Scholarships.

Today, Mnangagwa will get an opportunity to fight back.

This comes as Mnangagwa has been under severe attack from the Generation 40 (G40) faction, which is fighting his reported bid to succeed Mugabe.

Sources told the Daily News that no one in Zanu PF, including Mugabe himself, had had sight of Mnangagwa’s dossier — bringing into spotlight the sources and origins of a document purportedly leaked to the media last week, which was said to have been authored by the veteran former liberation war fighter.

“Don’t get excited about that document. It’s fake. ED was finalising his document at the weekend and had not yet given it to the president.

“No one knows the contents of that document, including his rivals. He is a former spy chief and knows how to manage information. Wait for his presentation . . . all you have read is fake and an attempt to pre-empt him,” a source close to Mnangagwa told the Daily News yesterday.

Last month, Mugabe told thousands of party supporters who gathered in Bindura that Mnangagwa had prepared a massive dossier he wanted to use against Moyo in the politburo.

He said this would be in response to Moyo’s presentation to the politburo in July where he accused Mnangagwa of State capture to bolster his reported bid to succeed the Zanu PF leader.

Mugabe revealed how Moyo had told that politburo meeting of an alleged confrontation between Mnangagwa and former broadcaster Godfrey Majonga over a woman, which allegedly ended with Majonga jumping from a high rise apartment in Harare — resulting in him being disabled for life.

“Hameno kana zvirizvo (we don’t know if this is true). Mnangagwa denies it. He says he doesn’t know any of it. He (Moyo) made that claim among others,” Mugabe told the supporters.

Mugabe said Mnangagwa was ready to “expose” some of Moyo’s alleged misdeeds, and that the vice president had, in this regard, already prepared a massive 85-page dossier which he would present to the politburo once he had fully recovered from his current illness.

“Mnangagwa said fine ‘I will reply him.’ He told me the other day that he has some 85 pages of reply. But because of the state of his health, he can only stand and talk, perhaps not more than 15 minutes or so.

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“But when he gets fit he will reply him. These are other issues that cause us discomfort in the party — personal differences, attacks and ambitions that we want to end,” said Mugabe then.

Mugabe also told the Bindura gathering that Moyo had never forgiven Mnangagwa for leaving him hanging high and dry in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsholotsho meeting which is said to have been called to plot Mugabe’s ouster and the Midlands godfather’s ascendancy to the leadership of the ruling party.

In what was later described as an attempted palace coup, Moyo and the chairpersons of six provinces gathered at Dinyane Secondary School then, where they allegedly intended to plot Mnangagwa’s rise to become Mugabe’s deputy, at the expense of former vice president Joice Mujuru.

Mnangagwa has been at the receiving end of savage attacks by Moyo in the on-going Zanu PF succession wars, which saw the G40, with the backing of First Lady Grace Mugabe, turning the heat on Mugabe’s long-time aide last week.

Grace publicly humiliated Mnangagwa at a Zanu PF youth gathering in the capital and made several accusations against the Midlands godfather whose long association with both Mugabe and Zanu PF have been put into sharp focus in the wake of renewed onslaught on him.

University of Zimbabwe politics expert Eldred Masunungure said although Mugabe was unlikely to be moved by Mnangagwa, it was important for the vice president to take his “enemies” head-on “because if he does not he is finished”.

“He is going to fight back, one cannot go to battle without guns and ammunition, there are more of enemies now than just rivals and it is now do or die.

“If he does not defend himself that will be the end of him but I don’t think he will elect to lie low and give his enemies room to outfox him. I personally think he will survive but in a compromised state.

“The weight that the president puts on this is very important. I am not sure whether those reports are going to be of importance . . . they are going to be sideshows, they are going to be generation of fake reports but the president is going to make his decision on what lies everywhere. It is not that he does not know what was in the documents . . . I don’t think the reports are going to change anything,” Masunungure told the Daily News.

He added that while Mnangagwa has come under severe attacks from G40 and Mugabe’s wife, it was unlikely that Mugabe would discard one of his most trusted allies as the political cost would have far-reaching consequences on Zanu PF.

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“He (Mugabe) will be keen to calculate the political cost of firing the VP. He knows that it is politically costly. He wants to send the message that for now it is my throne and I am still in charge but Mnangagwa will not fight in a manner that will be seen as fighting the first family but fight he will and probably try to divide those people who are behind G40,” said Masunungure.

Zanu PF infighting took an ominous turn in August when Mnangagwa fell sick during an interface rally in Gwanda which his backers said was a poison attack by his G40 rivals.

Mnangagwa was later airlifted to South Africa where he had emergency surgery.

The alleged poisoning saga has worsened the infighting in the former liberation movement with Mugabe coming out publicly to warn his senior officials over allegations that Mnangagwa had been poisoned by ice cream from his dairy company.

Grace said the allegations were calculated to destroy the first family’s business.

Mnangagwa issued a statement denying that his illness was caused by ice cream from the first family’s Gushungo Dairies but he has been consistent that he was poisoned.

Recently, Mnangagwa suggested to hordes of people who converged at Mupandawana Growth Point in Gutu District, Masvingo Province, for the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Shuvai Mahofa’s memorial service that he was actually poisoned in the same way Mahofa was in 2015.

“I came here to tell you that what happened to Mai Mahofa in Victoria Falls is the same thing which happened to me,” he said.

Mahofa, one of Mnangagwa’s fiercest allies, left the Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls in 2015 wheelchair-bound amid suspicions she had been poisoned by party rivals.

She then spent two months recuperating in a South African hospital before she resurfaced in March 2016.

Days after Mnangagwa’s address in Masvingo, his colleague Mphoko, issued a damning statement in which he attacked him for allegedly trying to divide the country and undermine Mugabe.

Mugabe has publicly stated that Mnangagwa was not food-poisoned and the VP himself has also said that but maintaining a consistent line that he was poisoned.

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