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Zanu PF factions in new turf war

Sources said the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction is determined to control the information desk currently led by the Solomon Mujuru camp through the party’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.

The camp, said the sources, roped in controversial former Information minister Jonathan Moyo after realising the importance of the party’s information department in the succession matrix.

They said it has also “recruited” war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda, who had virtually camped in Masvingo and currently behaving like the Zanu PF’s de facto political commissar.

“The Mnangagwa faction wants Moyo, whom they know is very eloquent, to undermine Gumbo and by extension the whole Mujuru faction by pretending to be speaking and writing on his personal capacity and yet expressing party positions,” said one of the sources.

Moyo’s political forays are said to have also angered the Minister of Information and Publicity Webster Shamu, who is also Zanu PF’s political commissar.
Sources said Shamu recently ordered the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) not to quote the former minister to check his growing political influence.

Shamu, who last week announced the beginning of Zanu PF’s restructuring exercise ahead of elections, possibly next year, is seen as a Mugabe loyalist.
Sources said he sprung into action after releasing that Sibanda was already preparing the ground for Mnangagwa loyalists to grab influential posts.
Shamu, through his aide who answered the phone, yesterday said he does not give interviews to journalists over the phone.

ZBC spokesperson Sivukile Simango referred questions to the national broadcaster’s CEO Happison Muchechetere, who could not be reached for comment.

However, Moyo’s appearance on ZBC TV has not been as frequent as it used to be.

Sibanda yesterday claimed he did not belong to any faction. He said he only supported Zanu PF and Mugabe.

“What they are saying is nonsense,” Sibanda said. “I don’t have a substitute president.”

The relationship between Gumbo and Moyo has shown signs of strain lately.

The Tsholotsho North MP rejoined Zanu PF with ease after he was expelled in 2005 when he stood as an independent candidate in the Tsholotsho.
He was fired after he was fingered as the chief architecture of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration in 2004, which was meant to topple Mugabe and replace him with Mnangagwa.

Sources said Moyo’s comments in the public media had courted the ire of the Mujuru faction which sees a ploy to wrestle the party’s information and publicity department from Gumbo, Mnangagwa’s long-time political rival in the Midlands province.

Last month, the Mnangagwa faction outwitted the Mujuru camp when it managed to send Moyo as a Zanu PF representative, to South Africa for the Sadc summit ahead of Gumbo, the official party spokesperson.

Asked to comment on the allegations, Moyo was abusive saying: “You are mad, goodbye.”

Gumbo could not be reached for comment yesterday but he was recently quoted in the media as saying Moyo must wait for the next congress if he wanted to speak on behalf of the party.

Power struggles between Mnangagwa and Gumbo are not new.

In 2005, Mnangagwa allegedly backed former ZBC journalist Makhosini Hlongwane who wrestled the Mberengwa East constituency from Gumbo.
Last year, Gumbo and Mnangagwa clashed over who was senior in the Midlands province.

Both claim to be the “godfathers” of the province.

But according the party’s constitution, Gumbo is number 11 while Mnangagwa is on 12.

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