ZANU-PF’S deposed generation 40 (G40) faction was “within touching distance” of snatching the party’s presidency amid revelations that its vile plan included the capture of several strategic institutions, including public media, just days before the ex-liberation movement’s December 15 extra-ordinary congress.
This also comes as the vanquished group has been mobilising against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government under the National Patriotic Front (NPF) banner and a number of its staunch allies, including ex-police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri, Kudzanai Chipanga and Ignatius Chombo, remain under the cosh over a litany of political and professional indiscretions.
“G40 kingpins had not only set upon a plan to capture key state organs by supplanting tried and tested cadres with their surrogates – across the media spectrum, and numerous parastatals – on the Thursday before the army takeover kicked in, but their trump card was the 10th Dzivaresekwa interface rally and subsequent Zanu-PF congress, and where they would have wanted to install Grace Mugabe as acting president as well,” said a source.
“So sinister was the plot that we would have very well seen Robert Mugabe, and Phelekezela Mphoko going on leave and that unhinged woman taking over the reigns for up to three months after the old man would have been forced on an extended vacation. And as the desperation to seize power set in, you will be aware that they even tried to divide securocrats by roping in people like Chihuri on their side with a view of (even) forming a military buffer for the old man,” they said, adding the crafty schemers had also tried to mask their true intentions by throwing in former Justice minister Happyton Bonyongwe’s name.
“Of course, we know that the junta still wanted to put Mnangagwa in charge at congress after sponsoring a spontaneous revolt against their former leader by Zanu-PF provinces, but it had to bring forward its intervention after the G40’s increasingly bold manouvres. And like in any situation where such evil plans collapse, there have been many casualties – albeit willing messengers – in the form of the Chihuris, who are now being swept by the tide after a number of dossiers detailing their expedient actions such as the $120 million spot fines and illegal fundraising debacle, failure to deal with Frank Buyanga’s cases and unresolved top cop extortion saga,” the sources said.
With the ex-Zanu-PF women’s league boss’ influence on her 93 year-old husband, analysts polled by the Daily News recently concurred that it was quite possible that the acerbic Gushungo Holdings owner would have gone on a dry run of party and state presidency after the party’s December 15 extra-ordinary congress.
“In the circumstances of the succession struggles in Zanu-PF in 2017, one cannot entirely deny the plans and actions of the various factions. While pushing Grace to the presidency appeared a long shot… it may as well tell us how political strategies were becoming amateurish and how seasoned politicians were throwing caution to the wind,” Rashweat Mukundu, a former Freedom House researcher and commentator, said.
Ethiopian-based security expert Maxwell Saungweme also said “anything was possible (with these hawks and) the theory seems plausible given Mnangagwa’s earlier dismissal. Nonetheless, the military might have gotten wind of this hence its coup”.
However, Shakespear Hamauswa disagreed and said G40 kingpins – in the form of ex-Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, and Saviour Kasukuweres – were just out to create smokescreens for their real motive.
“The fight was for Mugabe to leave office. So the G40 wanted to create a fake scenario where Mugabe would feel safe after his exit. The G40 had someone else other than Grace. They knew Grace was not going to make it so they were just using her for their hidden agenda,” the pro-government analyst said.
And as the Zanu-PF leadership contest, and intrigue continues – even after Mugabe’s November 21 ouster – Moyo and the deposed leader’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao have not only sought to continually project the Harare regime as illegitimate, but have escalated efforts to fight Mnangagwa and his military-backed government under the NPF cover.
According to recent media reports and indeed his own twitter posts, the ex-Tsholotsho North legislator still believes the nonagenarian leader was “wrongly, and unjustly” pushed out by the lacoste faction, and its security sector allies.
As such, Moyo and his G40 allies – notably Zhuwao – have set in motion plans to derail Mnangagwa by roping in Mugabe, National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru, the Movement for Democratic Change and a dissident group called the 2018Resistance.
And in their latest, and nefarious activities to oust the new Zanu-PF leader, it is believed that the embittered lot was working “with certain remnants of the old security structure and apparatus” that was behind the former president’s feeble attempt to cling on to power in the after the November 15 military intervention.
Meanwhile, Chihuri and several other Grace allies remain under attack for a number of imprudent decisions, including the alleged looting of state resources that have been exposed by police deductions saga, and messy fight with Bigboy Pachirera.
“You see, Mnangagwa is such a calculative man for he simply lumped the former Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) head’s political sins to his professional indiscretions, which culminated in the latter’s sacking on December 18 last year. In my understanding, the litany of allegations ranged from his dodgy Kuyedza Club activities to the ex-top cop’s refusal to investigate cases reported by Buyanga against five parties and protecting surbodinates implicated in the Delish Nguwaya extortion cases,” said a source.
“Apart from these issues and complaints, his obvious G40 bias also reflected in the police’s failure to arrest Innocent Hamandishe on six assault and kidnapping charges, and where his officers would even claim they could not locate the former youth boss yet he was routinely attending Grace’s interface rallies,” they said.
And with the long-serving police chief under fire for presiding over a generally corrupt force – enmeshed in such hellish, and emotive issues as the spot fines saga – the incoming government not only had enough fodder to boot out Chihuri, but found support even among opposition quarters.
With all these outstanding issues that strike at the core of the force’s integrity, new Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu has thus sanctioned sweeping changes to improve police conduct and operations – now being spearheaded by police boss Godwin Matanga.
In Manicaland, for instance, Chipanga is accused of grabbing a Headlands farm that had been earmarked for a state university, while Chombo is facing fresh charges of trying to muscle in on a Kariba fish farm.
In the Buyanga case, Chihuri is accused of sitting on dockets for the prosecution of Tawanda and Winnie Jakachira, lawyer Tamuka Moyo, Simon Charewa and Lawrence Muteswa over the flamboyant businessman’s loss of two Harare properties.
On the other hand, the stricken man was sucked into the Nguwaya case after chief superintendent Nyaradzai Majachani, superintendent Shepherd Tachiona, constable Clever Gadzikwa and Vengai Zano failed to appear in court despite arrest warrants having been issued. And this was after the Chinese Business Association had raised complaints over continued harassment by the alleged syndicate.
And despite efforts to clean up the security sector of rogue elements, Chihuri was seen as a hindrance to the operation by ignoring court warrants for the bent cops.