- Published: 06 November 2014
- Written by The Zimbabwean
A Zanu PF faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa is allegedly pushing for the prosecution of their bitter rival, Joice Mujuru, ahead of next month's congress.
According to the weekly strategists, who include several legal and academic brains, they are convinced that the arrest and subsequent trial for corruption would severely embarrass and weaken Mujuru, who heads the rival camp.
"Mnangagwa and his supporters are sensing victory over Mujuru. President (Robert) Mugabe's recent support for the faction has given them confidence and they want to finish her (Mujuru) off," said one of the sources, who receive regular intelligence briefings on the dynamics in the ruling party.
The plotters, he said, have met several times and prepared a dummy docket after consulting with three high profile sympathizers (names withheld) in the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice headed by Mnangagwa.
The Mnangagwa team is also banking on support from Grace Mugabe to persuade her husband to approve the prosecution of Mujuru.
"It would be a real coup if Mugabe agrees to the plan. He has come a long way with Mai Mujuru to treat her like that, but then, nothing is impossible," added the source.
The Mnangagwa camp is reportedly working closely with disgruntled Indian and Kenyan investors with whom the Mujuru family partnered in running duty free shops at the Harare International Airport. It intends to use them as the complainants in the case.
According to recent reports in the state-controlled media, the investors poured $1 million into the venture. But the deal turned sour when a Mujuru business advisor complained that the partners were not bringing value to the business, resulting in them being booted out.
The investors are said to have approached Mnangagwa and his backers with their case when they learnt of the intensifying factional war. Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, (who controls the state media) is said to be fighting for Mnangagwa, together with Water Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
The media reports accused Mujuru of illegally receiving payments from the investors, and this, the sources said, forms the backbone of the charges being prepared.
It was not immediately clear if the aggrieved business partners were willing to take the witness stand, but the sources said they were taking advantage of the succession battles in Zanu (PF) to settle scores with Mujuru.
Mnangagwa, as usual, ignored several calls from The Zimbabwean, and Moyo, Kasukuwere and Chinamasa were not available to comment. But a weekly state newspaper, whose EMPLOYEES insist that Moyo is directing news against the Mujuru faction, implied that the vice president could indeed be prosecuted.
A recent front page report argued that only Mugabe was immune to prosecution. Critics maintain this could be a way of setting the agenda for Mujuru's prosecution.
Rugare Gumbo, the ruling party's information secretary who is reported to be siding with Mujuru, last week accused the Mnangagwa faction of using the public media to fight factional wars.
The sources said the plotters were banking on Mugabe's support for the prosecution and were in a dilemma about whether to rope in Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, who they have publicly accused in the state media of belonging to the Mujuru camp.
Grace Mugabe has repeatedly accused Mujuru of corruption, fraud and incompetence. Moyo, Kasukuwere and Mnangagwa featured prominently at her recent rallies, together with the outgoing secretary for women's affairs, Oppah Muchinguri .
Grace, while addressing a select group of war veterans recently, insinuated that Mnangagwa should take over the position of vice president from Mujuru, whom she openly urged to resign or face being expelled at congress.
Mujuru has insisted that she is innocent. At a Zanu (PF) politburo meeting last week where Mugabe was present, she is said to have challenged her rivals to provide evidence that she is corrupt.