HARARE – Allies of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa suffered another huge blow after President Robert Mugabe directed the Midlands Zanu PF provincial executive to haul “troublesome” elements in the province to the party’s National Disciplinary Committee (NDC).
There had been complaints that since many of Mnangagwa’s top lieutenants were booted out of the party last month, the political climate in the province had become very tense, amid reports of heightened intimidation targeted at those perceived to be against the Midlands godfather’s presidential ambitions.
The Midlands godfather’s key supporters, who include suspended deputy provincial chairperson Daniel Mackenzie-Ncube, spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri, Gokwe-Kana MP, Owen Muda Ncube, and Victor Matemadanda, among others, were reportedly demanding protection fees from illegal gold panners.
The money, according to Zanu PF officials, would then be used against Mnangagwa’s opponents in terror campaigns by a group going by the moniker Al Shabab.
Matangaidze told the Daily News that Mugabe, soon after his arrival from Japan last weekend, had directed his province to compile a report and forward it to the NDC, chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
“The miners have suffered in silence over the years,” Matangaidze said.
“They were being forced to pay protection fees to the so-called Al Shabab.
“That protection fee is code-named ‘mhuu’ and is up to 30 percent of the gold that the miner would have extracted. This is criminal, and the Kwekwe cabal has been running with this for years. We are happy that the party is now bringing this to a stop. This explains why the cabal panicked over my appointment. We will leave no stone unturned in bringing normalcy to the province.”
Efforts to get comment from Mackenzie-Ncube were fruitless as he said he was in a meeting.
The development comes ahead of a planned visit by Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere to Midlands this week in a move meant to douse the factional flames raging in the politically volatile province.
The province has seen the suspension of dozens of Mnangagwa allies, including Zanu PF deputy secretary for administration July Moyo.
The VP’s regional supporters are vowing that they will not go down without a spirited fight, with parallel structures being set up at all levels and officially splitting the party into two.-Daily News