FRESH fissures are emerging in the ruling Zanu PF party with cadres seen as loyal to President Emmerson Mnangagwa under the Team Lacoste banner facing purges amid reports of a plot to reform the party’s base structures by remnants of the rival G40 camp.
On Saturday, four Mnangagwa loyalists in Midlands were slapped with suspension letters, including his nephew Esau Natare, who unsuccessfully stood as the party’s parliamentary candidate for Gweru Urban in the 2018 elections.
Natare, a military official, was suspended by the provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) for alleged misconduct and was banned from holding any position for the next three years. The vehicle he was given in the build-up to the elections was withdrawn while sources also indicated there were overtures to have him booted from his military job.
The party’s 2018 parliamentary candidate for Mkoba constituency Charles Simbi who is a prominent Team Lacoste member was also purged and his vehicle withdrawn.
Two other rabid supporters of Mnangagwa who were pivotal during the late former leader Robert Mugabe’s rule in fighting the G40 camp, Rumbidzai Waungana and Winny Manyumwa, were also given the boot.
Sources said the purges were part of a broader scheme to weaken Mnangagwa’s grip on the grassroot structures.
“In Harare recently there was also a plot to purge another Team Lacoste cadre in the name of Godwin Gomwe and we are likely to see more loyalists of President Mnangagwa falling by the way side. It’s a bigger scheme and G40 is on the rebound. This explains why former G40 officials who were suspended are trickling back into the party such as former Cabinet minister Annastancia Ndlovu who is now working at the party headquarters in Harare,” the source said.
Former Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane and ex-Public Service deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze who were suspended from the party for their G40 links, have formally submitted their applications for re-admission into Zanu PF.
Addressing a weekend Midlands Zanu PF PCC meeting, provincial chairperson Daniel Mackenzie Ncube confirmed the development, but said a decision was yet to be made by the province on the duo’s application. Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said the suspensions were not linked to any succession plots.
“I dismiss such reports as utter rubbish. The suspensions are clearly isolated cases. There is no broader plan in them at all. Some of the cases like that of (Chivi South MP Killer) Zivhu actually came to the politburo and we dealt with them there. There is no scheme against President Mnangagwa at all unless if you can give me the evidence. Zanu PF is a big organisation which is not run through rumours,” he said.
In a related matter, former Chiredzi West ward 3 councillor Tarusenga Makamba (Zanu PF) has been suspended from the party for four years for giving an interview to online publication, Lowveld Checkpoint, in May this year.
His sister Loice Makamba, who was ward 3 chairperson, was also suspended for the same period over similar allegations. The two have since appealed their suspension with the provincial executive. The pair allegedly accused Chiredzi West MP Farai Musikavanhu (Zanu PF) of fanning divisions in the party which could cost Mnangagwa votes in Chiredzi and described him and his alleged shadow councillor and businessman Jamson Charumbira as “sellouts”.
They then went on to give an interview to the online publication and were suspended in letters dated June 8, 2020.