One of President Robert Mugabe’s top aides yesterday suggested the veteran ruler was not bothered by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s controversial New Year Eve gathering in Zvishavane and that those trying to stop him from becoming Zimbabwe’s next leader were wasting their time.
By Everson Mushava
The shadowy state media columnist Nathaniel Manheru, unmasked as Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba in his latest instalment, told Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo to stay out of the debate over the veteran ruler’s succession, saying he had already lost the fight.
Charamba’s unprecedented revelations and warning to Moyo brought a new dimension in the fluid battle to succeed Mugabe which has been raging in Zanu PF for years as he suggested that the presidency was now secured for Mnangagwa.
The sensational jibe against Moyo followed accusations that the party Mnangagwa held at his Mapanzure homestead was meant to “coronate” him as the new Zanu PF leader. Mnangagwa was pictured drinking from a mug inscribed “I am the boss”, much to the chagrin of some party members who rebuked him for allegedly hobnobbing with Mugabe’s enemies in a strongly-worded statement last week.
Charamba said Moyo must stick to academic research and leave Mugabe’s succession battle where he was doomed to fail the party’s old guard.
“Minister Jonathan Nathaniel Moyo, the professor: leave those scurrilous and thoughtless 140-letter tweets, all to motivate and orchestrate real research, to build and organise real knowledge, without doubt always your forte, your competence,” he said.
“Not this dabbling in Zanu-PF succession politics you know you will not win.”
Charamba said Moyo would not feature in the plans of those who would take over from Mugabe.
“Chine vene vacho chinhu ichi [This thing (Mugabe succession) belongs to some people] and you won’t be there when great questions of the day are settled mumatare avo (at their fora),” he said.
A document that circulated among Zanu PF supporters during the party conference last December titled: “The Mnangagwa mafia: Chinhu chedu’ seemed to suggest the VP had a structure of people pushing his alleged agenda to succeed Mugabe.
Interestingly Charamba was listed as the faction’s point person liasing with government agencies. Yesterday he said Moyo was too young and junior to influence Mugabe’s succession that has already been determined.
“Too young, too small, simply a late arrivant, my good soul-mate,” he wrote.
“You, me, all others like us, must do what we know and do best: quietly remake our worlds by remarking the knowledge that animates and moves them.
“Not this shallow debate about a “mug” and a “boss” As if President Mugabe ever drinks from a mug, let alone called or known by the awkward appellation of “Boss”.
“Not even fragile, hypersensitive at all to be bothered by such stuff. Not the man I know.
“Rather than seeking to remake him through our small thoughts and inane sensitivities, let us remake and deal with great issues he has assigned us: organising higher knowledge, in your case.”
Moyo, mentioning Charamba by name, said the president’s spokesperson had exposed his ‘Stalinist’ handlers in a hard hitting response on Twitter.
“What a useful statement from a useful idiot with a useful message from his useless Stalinist handlers who are ignorant of the magic of elections,” he tweeted.
A Zanu PF faction believed to enjoy Mugabe’s support wants the post of vice president to be subjected to elections and some believe this is targeted at Mnangagwa. Moyo said the Mnangagwa faction’s strategy was bound to fail.
“George Charamba and your cabal: Zimbabwe is not a chinhu (a thing), it’s a nation that belongs to all Zimbabweans and not a cabal,” he tweeted.
“Forget entitlement. Zimbabwe’s destiny will be shaped by Gushungo legacy through democracy!
“Very sick. Zim will never be an exclusive project of a cabal claiming to be stockholders.
“That “stockholder” nonsense from anti-constitutional electoral cowards, back again. It’s elections, stupid!”
“It’s very rare for deputy presidents, deputy central bank governors, deputy chief justices & deputy vice chancellors to succeed their bosses,” he added in a tweet that appeared to be aimed at Mnangagwa.
Charamba was not picking his calls yesterday when contacted for comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF youths provincial chairpersons who were represented by secretary for youth Affairs in the politburo, Kudzi Chipanga yesterday said they strongly supported the position by the chairpersons and commissars where they berated Mnangagwa over the ‘Mug fiasco.’
They called for disciplinary action against Mnangagwa, threatening to demonstrate against him when Mugabe returns home from the Far East where he is on holiday.
Manicalaand chairperson Mubuso Chinguno said the youths were worried about the VP’s conduct.
“It shows the VP is sending them. He should be investigated. His positions does allow him to do that,” he said.
Masvingo chairperson Nobert Ndaarombe said the party should take action against Mnangagwa.
“We will raise the issue in next week’s executive meeting. We will even demonstrate against him when the president returns.” he said.
Mahonaland East chairperson Mutsvairo said Mnangagwa was off the mark and deserved censure.
“He should actually be expelled from the party for betraying the president,” he said.
Bulawayo provincial chairlady Anna Mokgohloa said Mnangagwa cannot be said to be Mugabe’s right hand man when he wined and dined dines with the people who attacked his boss.
“If those people scold the president, they have scolded everyone, including the VP, why should he entrain them,” she asked.
Harare provincial youths chair Edson Takataka said Mnangagwa should be censured for betraying Mugabe who appointed him to the position of VP.
“We support the chairpersons 100%, as Harare, we are actually demanding action against the VP,” Takataka said.
However, Midlands p chairperson Prosper Machando defended Zanu PF’S Midlands godfather, saying those who think Mnangagwa can betray Mugabe were day dreamers.
“They had been together long before some of us were born, How can he betray him now,” he said.
“People come to a party and they need food, do you sent them away. People should not smear campaign leaders; that will backfire one day.”
Mnangagwa tried to wriggle out of the controversy by claiming that controversial businessman Energy Mutodi who appeared with him in the picture had gatecrashed the party but more pictures have since resurfaced showing him partying with Zanu PF renegades.