An angry President Emmerson Mnangagwa has joined war veterans in accusing some senior Zanu PF officials of trying to engineer his downfall during the July 30 polls by encouraging party followers to vote for opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
This comes after Mnangagwa came perilously close to going into a run-off against Chamisa in the hotly-contested presidential poll, after he garnered a less than stellar 50,8 percent of the ballot to the MDC Alliance leader’s 44,3 percent.
In the meantime, Chamisa has insisted that he beat Mnangagwa in the disputed poll whose results he has now gone on to challenge in the Constitutional Court — claiming that they were fiddled with by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) in favour of the Zanu PF leader.
Addressing newly-elected ruling party legislators at Zanu PF’s headquarters in Harare on Thursday, the decidedly unhappy Mnangagwa warned his fellow comrades that he suspected that some of them had tried to engineer his downfall — adding that these officials were now at the risk of facing the sack from the party.
He also revealed that he had been given a report showing the voting statistics for Parliament and for the presidential poll in every constituency during the poll, suggesting further that this confirmed that there had been Bhora Musango during the elections.
“I want to talk in general terms that there were those who were saying vote for the MP, but as for the president do what you think is good for you. We know these people,” he thundered.
Zanu PF harvested a convincing 145 parliamentary seats during the elections, to retain its two thirds majority in the National Assembly. However, Mnangagwa just managed to scrape through in the presidential race — after receiving 2,46 million votes to Chamisa’s 2,15 million.
In May, Mnangagwa also claimed that he had unearthed a plot by his party’s disgruntled parliamentary candidates to impeach him soon after the July 30 elections.
“I got intelligence that some of those who have won these primary elections have two minds.
“They have gone to join the Zanu PF wagon using various tricks, money included, to be elected with a possible view that once in Parliament they will band together and move a motion of impeachment,” he said while addressing a Zanu PF workshop in Harare.
Insiders told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that a witch hunt against the suspected culprits had since started in the party, with the matter having come under discussion in Thursday’s politburo meeting.
Some of the constituencies where Mnangagwa lost to Chamisa despite his MPs winning their Parliamentary race include Marondera West and Harare South which were won by Spiwe Mukunyaidze and his nephew Tongai Mnangagwa respectively.
Speaking during a victory gathering in her constituency last week, Mukunyaidze appeared to suggest that she was in hot water as a result of the suspect voting patterns.
“While I am happy that you voted for me and I won, you created serious problems for me because the president lost here and questions are being asked as to how this happened, and I have no explanation either.
“I now wish you never voted for me because if I had lost as well I would not be in trouble,” Mukunyaidze told supporters at Border Church Shopping Centre.
Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the voting patterns that emerged were “unsurprising” as Zanu PF was still divided despite the fall of Mugabe from power.
“It shows the lack of cohesiveness in Zanu PF … the voting patterns lay bare the divisions in the ruling party,” he said — while referencing a similar voting phenomenon in the disputed 2008 plebiscite in which Mugabe lost to the late popular MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai.
The results of those polls were withheld for six long weeks by stunned authorities — amid widespread allegations of ballot tampering and fraud, which were later revealed by former bigwigs of the ruling party.
In the ensuing sham presidential run-off, which authorities claimed was needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in an orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters were killed, forcing the former prime minister in the inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether.
Mugabe went on to stand in a widely-condemned one-man race in which he declared himself the winner.
However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would have none of it, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five years, to prevent the country from imploding completely.
Our sister paper the Daily News also reported last week that war veterans are seething with anger over the “small margin” by which Mnangagwa defeated Chamisa in last month’s elections.
Well-placed sources within the ranks of the war veterans said they had a sense that some senior Zanu PF officials had not done enough to support Mnangagwa to score a resounding victory in the presidential race against Chamisa.
“We are surprised and very angry that in the end ED’s (Mnangagwa’s) victory was not as decisive as we thought it would be, particularly seeing that the party’s (Zanu PF’s) parliamentary candidates did very well in the elections.
“So, as war veterans we want to know what really happened as this (the less than convincing presidential vote outcome) raises many questions, as well as with regards to the conduct, loyalty and commitment to the cause of some senior party officials,” one of the sources said.
Seemingly bolstering this view as he spoke at a Zanu PF Harare province meeting last weekend, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda also bemoaned the fact that the July 30 poll victory had not been as “thunderous” as the party had wanted.