HARARE – The ambitious G40 faction has upstaged Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s camp in the battle for Harare East constituency — with the party officially bowing to the whims and caprices of the influential clique of Young Turks.
Throwing away its own rule book — Zanu PF has chosen Terence Mukupe, an unknown quantity to represent the party in Harare East over Mavis Gumbo — who has been attracting staggering multitudes to her rallies ahead of the eagerly anticipated June 10 by-elections.
Simon Khaya-Moyo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday, that the decision to back Mukupe is based on the simple fact that he polled more votes than any other candidate during the party primary elections held in April.
“This morning, I met the Acting President (Mnangagwa) and the party’s decision was that our candidate is Mukupe because he polled more votes than any other candidate,” Khaya-Moyo said.
Zanu PF was thrown into turmoil when the High Court ruled that both Mukupe and Gumbo could stand as the party candidates in Harare East — and there are now fears that the ructions that characterised the run up to the June 10 by elections could result in the party losing to independent candidates.
“They all submitted their names but we cannot have two candidates in one constituency. Mukupe is now our official party candidate,” Khaya-Moyo said.
But far from resolving the party’s nasty fights — Zanu PF’s decision — has just ignited another war as die hard supporters including the volatile war veterans accuse the party of giving too much power to the young Turks who they accuse of planning to topple President Robert Mugabe.
Harare province in particular has been backing Gumbo as opposed to Mukupe, whose history in the party is hazy.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Gumbo said: “I am yet to get an official communication from the party”.
But while she was diplomatic, in earlier interviews before the party’s official pronouncements, her comrades in Zanu PF, such as central committee member Justice Zvandasara, said it is critical that the party be represented by bona fide members during elections.
“I am a central committee member from Zone 4 where this election is being contested. We agreed on Mavis Gumbo because we know her and yet nobody knows Mukupe. We have no records of him.
“Whatever his claims are the position of the party is very clear. He should have had five years at least at district level. He is not a registered voter and has never voted even for the President (Mugabe),” said Zvandasara.
The decision to run with Mukupe has been met with astonishment and anger by war veterans who accuse the G40 group, one of whose prominent members is Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, of growing too big headed.
Kasukuwere, who is also referred to as Obama by other party Young Turks who operate as the Generation 40 (G40) group, in reference to Barack Obama who defied all odds to become the first black president of the United States, is said to harbour ambitions for higher office — a move that has put him in the firing line of senior colleagues.
Members of the G40 and Gang of Four, working with Grace, masterminded the toppling of former Vice President Joice Mujuru as they saw the popular widow of liberation war icon General Solomon Mujuru as a stumbling block to their ambitions.
But no sooner had Mujuru fallen that Zanu PF split into two distinct and bitterly-opposed formations — with one initially led by Mnangagwa but also fragmenting, and the other by disaffected liberation struggle stalwarts who now operate as Zanu PF “People First”.
In their unexpected move on Tuesday, war veterans held a Press conference in Harare where they lashed Kasukuwere viciously, saying they would not allow him to take over power from Mugabe.
In addition, a war veteran and Zanu PF politburo member Oppah Muchinguri, who was part of the original Gang of Four, also recently fingered the G40 as responsible for the turmoil that continues to dog the ruling party — further accusing them of wanting to take over power from Mugabe and not wanting Mnangagwa as both party and State VP.
Similarly, Zanu PF Harare youth chairperson Godwin Gomwe, who is closely linked to Grace, has also rallied against Kasukuwere’s move to impose a relatively unknown party candidate, Mukupe, in the capital city to represent it in Harare East in the forthcoming by-elections.
“The decision is indeed shocking. Why is the party going against what the majority want? Why is the party surrendering power to the G40,” queried a top party official from Harare province.
With the party’s secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo, who wrote a letter confirming Gumbo’s candidature out of the country — the G40 camp had an easy task convincing the party leadership to dump Gumbo. – Daily News