By Staff Reporter
SOME high-ranking Zanu PF officials who were staunchly opposed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over the reins from late former president Robert Mugabe, but are now his loudest praise singers, a senior party official has said.
Zanu PF Midlands provincial deputy chairperson, Edson Chiherenge, who is one of Mnangagwa’s blue-eyed boys, alleges some senior party officials would gossip about the former Defence and State Security minister, thereby diminishing trust with his principal and benefactor, Mugabe.
Addressing a Zanu-PF councillors’ interface in Midlands last week, Chiherenge said some Politburo members whom he did not name, would back-bite Mnangagwa during his absence as none were brave to confront him over ambitions to succeed Mugabe.
“During one of the Politiburo meetings, a senior party official told the meeting we were gathering that Mnangagwa and (then vice president) Joice Mujuru were leading factions within the party. The same tried to influence Mugabe to sanction Mnangagwa, saying he must be dealt with,” Chiherenge said.
The heated Politburo session in question was reportedly convened while Mnangagwa was in Zambia on an official assignment.
Chiherenge claimed he sprang to Mnangagwa’s defence as his detractors lampooned him.
“I, however, told Mugabe and the Politburo that we cannot speak of such a serious issue in Mnangagwa’s absence. Instead, we had to wait for him to come back and answer to the allegations himself.
“However, when Mnangagwa returned, the said members who pushed for him to be punished, kept quiet and were scared to confront him over allegations he wanted to dethrone Mugabe,”Chiherenge said.
His remarks come in the wake of raging factionalism wreaking the party’s provincial structures.
Chiherenge claimed Mnangagwa had tasked him to end factionalism in the volatile Midlands province, where former State Security Minister Owen ‘Mudha’ Ncube is angling to become the godfather.
“The President sent me to end factionalism in the province. We must be united as a people, as Zanu PF, so that the President wins in the coming elections. We don’t want divisions.
“Of all the provinces in the country, President Mnangagwa is from Midlands and coming from Midlands, therefore, the President mustn’t lose sleep because of factionalism. We are going to stop factionalism in the province.”
The Zanu-PF boss said the party had a legacy to protect.
“As a province we have a legacy to protect. We are not prepared to lose that legacy in five years. The president must continue serving. If you are not prepared to defend that legacy, ship out, we won’t follow you,” he charged.
“We don’t want a situation where the country collapses under the watch of a Midlands-led leadership . We have the President here and we are not going to allow (Nelson) Chamisa to destroy Midlands. We don’t have guns or anything but we are working hard for the President to retain power.”