By Moses Ngwere
A LEAKED mobile phone conversation between two senior Zanu PF youth league members has revealed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia as an emerging powerful political actor who can make or break careers like her predecessor Grace Mugabe.
The conversations indicate that Auxilia is meddling in the affairs of the party’s youth wing which recently passed a vote of no confidence against three top executives – Pupurai Togarepi, Lewis Matutu and Tendai Chirau.
The recordings reveal a conversation between youth league spokesperson Yeukai Simbanegavi and Masvingo league chairman Brian Munyoro where the latter is heard telling Simbanegavi that the no-confidence petitions were orchestrated by Auxillia using her proxies in the party.
Pupurai, Matutu and Chirau, along with two other executive members were accused of not defending Mnangagwa amid escalating factional fights within the party.
In the audio recording, Munyoro informs Simbanegavi that the youths were ensconced at a local hotel on the day of the votes of no confidence and received payments of $75 each upon signing the petition under the guise of signing for refreshment allowances.
The money was reportedly brought by a Midlands legislator who is close to the Mnangagwas.
The developments are reminiscent of the way former first lady Grace Mugabe used to control and manipulate party structures using her proximity to then president Robert Mugabe.
“We were about to go to sleep and I heard that Manyengavana is the one who was said to be crafting the document (for votes of no confidence). Yes, exactly but it (the money) was said to be for refreshments.
“I am saying this because I asked them to explain to those from Masvingo,” Munyoro is heard telling Simbanegavi who had asked for him to explain what had transpired.
Munyoro continued; “We were told that if we do not sign we are the ones who will be removed; I think I was the last person to sign.
“But people were given $75 in bond notes. They were new five dollar notes; Venge (Musengi) had a bag of money. I heard a knock on my door after 1 am and told I was the only one left and I went.
“We were left at the hotel after the chairmen left with Jaya and another from Bulawayo at the hotel, after we were briefed what was going on and Jaya fumed that he was not in agreement.
“They were saying Matutu blocked us from having a fundraising. These are people who are just doing their things clandestinely and it seems like Venge might have mother’s (Auxillia’s) blessings. When you come we need to meet and talk about these issues.”
Simbanegavi then tells the Masvingo official that the petitions would not hold as they were dismissed by the politburo.
“Anyway we heard the politburo refused to accept it because HE (Mnangagwa) said we do not do accept documents from the streets.
“I was on the phone with Matutu and he told me they got into the politburo, but I’m not sure who went with that paper into politburo. And they said maybe it will go to the OCZ.
“So they posted on the group that ‘we have removed everyone top something there, so who is going to replace them,” the Gutu North legislator is heard querying.
When quizzed about the recording, Simbanegavi refused to comment, saying; “I cannot talk to you right now. I am getting into a meeting.”
Subsequent efforts to follow up with her were unsuccessful as her phone went unanswered.
Munyoro’s mobile phone was not reachable.
Meanwhile, Matutu who, tweeted that he will “not be paying attention to petty fights”, refused to comment on the matter, referring questions to party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo and Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana.
“You can try the party spokesperson he might be in a better position to comment on that issue,” he said.
“I might not be the best person to say anything on the matter because my position might not be that of the youth league but right now I am in Matabeleland on inter-district work, nothing has changed about my position in the youth league.”
Earlier he had tweeted: “Out of a small piece of rented land my partner and I were able to produce good healthy tomatoes. I would rather direct my energy towards hard work than petty fights.”
Khaya Moyo said he had not received any names but reacting to reports of the happenings said party members should act in accordance with provisions in the party constitution.
“Every party member must abide by the party constitution,” said the Zanu PF spokesman.
“I cannot comment on the youth league specifics because I have no names that were brought to me, but I am responding to what we read from reports and, from that, I am reminding every party member to act in accordance with the constitution.”