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New politburo battle details emerge

New details of last week’s explosive Zanu PF politburo meeting — where a titanic battle between higher education minister Jonathan Moyo and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa erupted, and is set to spill into the next politburo meeting — emerged this week. This comes amid indications the vice-president is working around the clock to prepare his defence before launching a fierce counter-attack on Moyo.

By Owen Gagare

Moyo presented a video, which lasted slightly more than an hour, using three smart boards positioned around the boardroom.
The video documentary is now available among a number of senior Zanu PF leaders.

Described by one politburo member as a “trial by video”, Moyo hauled Mnangagwa over the coals, informing Mugabe that his deputy had “captured state institutions and was intent on capturing the party’s commissariat department” as part of a plot to unseat the veteran leader.

Most politburo members sat ashen-faced as they heard how Mnangagwa, with the help of some military commanders, had literally taken over operations at the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission, National Prosecuting Authority and Zimpapers — among other strategic state institutions.

Mugabe yesterday warned the military of succession manoeuvres amounting to a coup. He said the army must stay out of it.

Politburo members said Moyo just fell short of accusing the Midlands strongman of treason.

Mnangagwa, Moyo charged, was implementing a strategy document called Blue Ocean, which calls on him to “reclaim the party”.

Moyo alleged that the vice-president was working with surrogates in the war veterans movement, including their leader Chris Mutsvangwa, as well as youths expelled by the party for denigrating First Lady Grace Mugabe, to degrade Mugabe’s power and influence and eventually force him out, possibly through an extra-ordinary congress.

But for the plot to succeed, Moyo said, Mnangagwa wanted to seize control of party’s commissariat department headed by his ally Saviour Kasukuwere, hence the extraordinary attempts to force him out.

Mugabe yesterday also said no province can pass a vote-of-no-confidence on his appointees, virtually rescuing the embattled Kasukuwere.

Moyo also painted the picture of an allegedly corrupt Mnangagwa who ran down the party’s companies. Politburo members watched as details were presented, showing how officials would withdraw money from Zanu PF companies and bank them in their personal accounts.

Moyo said Mnangagwa had “deceived” cabinet into lifting an export ban on raw chrome. African Chrome Fields was granted mining rights after Mnangagwa “wilfully misled” Mugabe into believing that the Indian investor had the latest technology that would process chrome ore into ferrochrome, Moyo said.

It was on that promise that the Indian investor was granted mining rights. Mugabe was invited to officiate at the commissioning if the plant in 2015, where he was shown what was claimed to be the chrome ore processing machinery. Moyo said truckloads of chrome ore continue to leave the country, and the Indians have reaped over US$49 million.

The higher and Tertiary education minister accused Mnangagwa of helping Africa Chrome Fields secure a duty free facility on over a million litres of fuel — a facility not available to other miners. A CMED memo was produced to prove that.

After Moyo presented his “evidence”, Mugabe asked Mnangagwa if he had anything to say.

The vice-president was dismissive of Moyo’s video presentation, insisting that the money he allegedly stole from Zanu PF companies was “dividend”. He said war veterans and youths expelled by Zanu PF, but who were publicly backing him to succeed Mugabe were not speaking for him.

He reminded Mugabe that he had been a loyal disciple for 40 years — prompting an intervention by Moyo who said the history of nationalist movements was littered with cases of old comrades turning on each other. Rarely, Moyo said, were the founding leaders betrayed by “omafikizolo” like him.

The vice-president, waving a dossier of his own, accused Moyo of being an American central intelligence (CIA) spy. He said Moyo was a traitor who wanted to destroy Zanu PF from within.

Mnangagwa then asked Mugabe for time to prepare a detailed response to Moyo, which the veteran leader granted.
Mnangagwa will present his defence at the next politburo meeting.

He is also expected to bring his dossier as he seeks to prove that Moyo is a CIA agent. The dossier, officials said, will include Moyo’s articles where he attacked Mugabe and Zanu PF when he was not in government. It will also include WikiLeaks documents which show that Moyo a decade ago held meetings with officials from the American embassy in Harare, which most Zanu PF leaders did at the time.

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