DEFENCE minister Sydney Sekeramayi seems to have now turned his back on the Grace Mugabe-backed G40 faction, which has frantically been trying to recruit him as the heavyweight candidate to challenge Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa on its ticket, Zanu PF insiders say.
This came as it emerged that Sekeramayi — who survived purging by a whisker during the acrimonious 2014 Zanu PF congress — asked President Robert Mugabe to rein in the Zanu PF commissariat department led by key G40 proponent Saviour Kasukuwere during a closed door briefing ahead of his meeting with war veterans last Thursday.
G40 has been courting Sekeramayi to lead the faction as they sought a big-hitter with liberation war credentials, experience in government and links to the state security apparatus, qualities which are critical in the matrix of power.
Last week, sources say, Sekeramayi told Mugabe “to rein in G40 members”, particularly Kasukuwere who has “ruffled the feathers of war veterans.”
“Sekeramayi said G40 is destroying the party because they want to take over leadership,” a senior Zanu PF official said.
“Mugabe then asked who the problem in the party was and he said Jonathan Moyo and Kasukuwere.
“Mugabe asked the war veterans leadership to give the Zanu PF officials more time to learn the ropes, but war veterans said the officials do not want to learn but to destroy the party.”
In the build up to the crunch indaba, Sekeramayi sided with the ousted Christopher Mutsvangwa’s war veterans association when he silenced the Mandiitawepi Chimene-led executive, which wanted the Mutsvangwa led executive to be barred from the meeting.
Sekeramayi, who was a close ally to former vice-president Joice Mujuru, has also refused to exchange notes with G40 movers showing his allegiance is not with Grace.
He declined liaisons with G40 in the aftermath of a rally held by Grace in Chiweshe in February were she blasted the war veterans leadership and military bosses, accusing them of plotting to kill her son Bellarmine to instil fear in the First Family, insiders say.
Grace also accused the military of plotting to bomb her dairy in Mazowe to aid Mnangagwa’s succession bid.
The war veterans, with the support of the army, reacted angrily and arranged a demonstration which was however quashed by the police.
Efforts to get a comment from Sekeramayi were fruitless as he was not picking up his phone. He did not respond to messages sent on his mobile phone although the messages were delivered.