Former president Robert Mugabe’s allies have started coming out of their shells to challenge his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa in a move that is likely to stoke tension between the two Zanu PF gladiators.
By Tatenda Chitagu
The National Patriotic Front (NPF), a party formed by mostly Zanu PF officials linked to the G40 faction, last week started holding provincial meetings of its structures where they declared war against Mnangagwa in elections set for August.
NPF says it wants to restore Mugabe’s legacy after the 94-year-old former Zanu PF leader was hounded out of power in November last year.
Mugabe and Mnangagwa fell out last year after Mugabe accused his protégé of trying to grab power before he unceremoniously dismissed him from government and Zanu PF.
Mnangagwa was only frozen out of the ruling party for a few days and fled into exile in South Africa before he returned to take over from a man he often described as his father after Mugabe was ousted by the military.
Speaking at its first ever inter-district meeting at the Masvingo Civic Centre’s Charles Austin Theatre, which was filled to the rafters, NPF commissar Jeppy Jaboon said they knew how to derail Zanu PF’s electoral plans.
“We will spoil the meal for Zanu PF. We know how to frustrate Mnangagwa,” he said.
“This time, Mnangagwa will not make it to the presidency. The junta government must fall. This is the time to crush Goliath.
“We should work well with the MDC-T and other opposition parties as they are no longer our enemies.
“We are fighting the same enemy and for the same cause of removing the coup government.
“We did not see the light long back, but now we have reached our Damascene moment
“We will check our support base and if there is need for an alliance with other opposition parties, we will come back to the people and consult.
“What we want is to remove the coup government and replace it with a civilian government.
“What did Mugabe do wrong? He gave us land, and look what Mnangagwa is doing?
“He is giving back that land to the whites. Is that the empowerment our parents fought for in the war of liberation?”
Speaking at the same meeting, NPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said the party would soon hold its national launch and had no leadership crisis.
He said the new government claimed it was targeting criminals around Mugabe, but Mnangagwa was circled by criminals.
“There are criminals circling the president,” he said. “Look at the list of people who externalised money. Were Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere on the list?
“We will finish Zanu PF off this time around.
“Masvingo is not a Zanu PF stronghold and we are working day and night to prove that to them. We are not afraid and we will not be intimidated.”
Former Cabinet minister Ambrose Mutinhiri is the NPF presidential candidate.
Mugabe recently said he would support NPF if it commits to upholding the constitution and restoring Zanu PF values.