IN A surprising development, expelled former Zanu-PF youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu, has sensationally claimed that some ruling party bigwigs are involved in the organisation of the planned July 31 mass protests against the government.
This comes as Zanu-PF is once again beset with ugly factional, tribal and succession wars — which split the former liberation movement in the middle in the last few years in power of the late former President Robert Mugabe.
It also comes as the opposition and pro-democracy groups are planning to roll out massive demos against President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government, over the worsening local economic crisis and the Zanu-PF leader's perceived reluctance to hold much-needed dialogue with the opposition and civic society.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Tsenengamu – who now leads the anti-graft pressure group Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ) – claimed that he was working with some disgruntled Zanu-PF bigwigs in mobilising for the month-end demonstrations.
"The whole nation is in agreement against what the looters are doing. They will be surprised that on July 31, the majority of Zanu-PF members are going to be part of the protest against corruption.
"We are talking with some senior Zanu-PF members. Some are even … telling us that they are tired of corruption … we are working with them," he said.
Asked to name some of the officials involved, Tsenengamu would only say: "Wait and see how many people are going to come out from Zanu-PF who will be supporting this protest.
"There are many. This is not about factions, it's about people who are victims of corruption," he added.
Since his expulsion from Zanu-PF, over the allegations of corruption that he made against some of the party's bigwigs, Tsenengamu has become an arch critic of Mnangagwa and his government.
Speaking to the Daily News' sister publication, the Daily News On Sunday in an exclusive interview over the weekend, Tsenengamu also said that it was time for Mnangagwa to show leadership and deliver on his electoral promises.
He said the Zanu-PF leader's performance since taking over from Mugabe via a popular military intervention in November 2017, had been hugely underwhelming.
"If we say he is not in charge, then that means he is a weak leader and maybe a placeholder. And if that is the case, then it means that he is unfit for his position.
"If we also say that he is being misled by alleged lieutenants, then it also means that he is not what we thought and believed him to be," Tsenengamu further told the Daily News On Sunday.
"How a whole president could be misled when he has all the apparatus at his disposal … think of the intelligence services in the defence, CIO and police. Are they all misleading him?" he asked rhetorically.
"He has a whole Cabinet, the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) … politburo, central committee and the Political Actors Dialogue … all there to advise him and you still suggest that he is being misled. Why?
"We don't want the repeat of the Mugabe scenario where everyone would say the president is right but those around him are the bad ones. No," Tsenengamu further told the Daily News On Sunday.
"If his lieutenants are misleading him and he doesn't see that, then he does not deserve the position. I would not want to apportion blame on those without the mandate to lead and govern.
"He is the president and the chief executive of this country. He must just pull up his socks," the FEEZ boss further told the Daily News On Sunday.
"I am of the opinion that he must start listening to advice. Of late, many in the corridors of power have been complaining that he is not a good listener despite what he pretends to be when in public.
"If he wants other people to work with him and help him achieve, then he must also be ready to take advice," Tsenengamu added.
Earlier this week, Zanu-PF named Tsenengamu as being part of the people it accused of trying to engineer Mnangagwa's ouster through the planned July 31 mass protests.
Speaking on Monday, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said Tsenengamu was one of the people who allegedly wanted to destabilise the nation.
"The party is aware of the planned mass protests which are being organised by MDC Alliance renegades, Tajamuka, Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ) led by the ex-party youth commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu and other media protagonists.
"Our security department should constantly alert us of this clear present danger of this unholy alliance.
"We also take note and welcome the Prosecutor-General's efforts for the extradition of Jonathan Moyo from Kenya as he is the figment of the external demonisation of leadership, exhorting mass uprising in the country," Mpofu said.
However, a defiant Tsenengamu said yesterday that he was not deterred by Zanu-PF's threats.
"Targeting individuals or their organisations will not help them in any way. There is a national consensus on the need to act together as a people against corruption.
"Looting and economic mismanagement have resulted in citizens wallowing in poverty. Targeting the messenger won't stop the message.
"If Mpofu said we are anti-establishment, then corruption is another name for Zanu-PF because we are anti-corruption. They are just trying to find ground to intimidate people," Tsenengamu further told the Daily News.
This comes as Mnangagwa and his under pressure administration are struggling to unshackle the country's economy from its current crisis which has triggered fears of a return to the horror situation of 2008.
Despite the 77-year-old Zanu-PF leader having been feted like a king when he took over from the late Mugabe, via a widely supported military coup in November 2017, Mnangagwa and his government have found the task of repairing the country's broken economy very tough.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the July 31 protests are confident that they will garner large crowds in the planned mass actions.
Transform Zimbabwe leader, Jacob Ngarivhume — who is the main organiser of the planned protests — said yesterday that he had held talks with various groups to persuade them to join the demos.
Among those he said he had met were Tsenengamu, Mnangagwa's adviser Shingi Munyeza and opposition figures that include Ian Makone and Elton Mangoma.
"We met on Monday to engage leaders and seek buy-in for the nationwide demonstration, and we got it.
"The consultation process is still on-going and I am having a meeting with the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe and the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) … to seek their buy-in as well.
"I have already received the support of nurses' unions who have said they want to join the demonstration which will go beyond corruption, to include the need for national dialogue, as well as paying civil servants in US dollars," Ngarivhume said.