SPARKS flew in an explosive Zanu PF politburo meeting where Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa responded to allegations raised by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo who accused him of plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
By Elias Mambo/Wendy Muperi
Moyo on July 19 presented a case in the politburo against Mnangagwa accusing him of scheming to topple Mugabe.
Zanu PF politburo sources revealed there was a tense atmosphere in the politburo on Wednesday where Mnangagwa turned his guns on Moyo, accusing him of being a Western-affiliated mole.
As Mnangagwa was about to present his response, Grace Mugabe tried to block him, raising issues of sub judice.
“When he was about to start his presentation, the First Lady, Grace Mugabe said Mnangagwa should withdraw his court challenge against Moyo if he wants to present his response as it would be sub judice,” a source in the politburo said.
In response, Mnangagwa pointed out that as a lawyer he knew what to say and what not to say during his presentation.
Mnangagwa said he would not comment on allegations he forced former television presenter Godfrey Majonga to jump from the third floor of a Harare building as the matter was sub judice.
The vice-president filed a US$3 million defamation lawsuit against Moyo after he refused to apologise for alleging that he forced Majonga to jump out of a flat.
Mnangagwa had given Moyo seven days to retract the claims, but the latter indicated he was prepared to go to court.
“Before Mnangagwa presented, he played an eight-minute video which showed Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere addressing a rally in Hurungwe in June 2015,” the politburo member said.
“In the video, Kasukuwere details Mnangagwa’s history from the liberation struggle and his loyalty to Mugabe for the past 55 years. Kasukuwere described Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s most trusted person in Zanu PF, saying he is deployed to carry out assignments which others would have failed to,” the source added.
Mnangagwa briefly paused the video and turned to Kasukuwere and asked him if his views have since changed.
Kasukuwere did ZANU PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, believed to be a G40 kingpin, proposed this week at the party’s politburo meeting that an extraordinary congress be held in December, two years before it is due in 2019.
Politburo sources said the reason for the push was to ensure the party is united ahead of the 2018 general elections after a gruelling season of infighting, which is threatening to split the liberation party on factional lines.
The politburo met on Wednesday amid vicious factional fights over the unresolved succession of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe as the two main factions, one led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other group referred to as G40, which has coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Sources also said Zanu PF wants to re-endorse Mugabe ahead of the elections.
After the 2014 elective congress, which resulted in the political demise of former vice-president Joice Mujuru, the party’s next elective congress was scheduled for 2019.
The extraordinary congress proposed by the commissariat department is expected to renew Mugabe’s mandate as the party’s first secretary as factional fights reach fever pitch.
According to a source privy to the discussions, the G40 faction wants to use the congress to push Mugabe to appoint a new politburo and reconstitute the central committee which can scuttle Mnangagwa’s aspiration to succeed the president.
However, sources said Mugabe, after realising that the proposal had the support of only three provinces, requested that Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meetings start convening this week to discuss the issue.
According to the Zanu PF constitution, an extraordinary congress “may be convened whenever it is deemed necessary”.
It can be convened at the instance of the majority of the members of the central committee, the president and first secretary, not less than one-third of members of the central committee and by at least five provincial executive councils.
After receiving a request for an extraordinary congress, the president is expected to forward the request to the party’s secretary for administration, who in turn should give at least six weeks’ notice prior to convening the extraordinary congress.
The special congress deliberates only on matters for which it has been specifically convened and three quarters of members shall form a quorum of the session.