PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, is once again extending an olive branch to many of his disaffected erstwhile Zanu-PF comrades – including former vice president Joice Mujuru, as he seeks to unite the long-divided ruling party, it has emerged.
Zanu-PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday also said Mnangagwa was “fully aware” of how the party’s vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction was allegedly “working furiously” in provinces such as Mashonaland Central to destabilise the former liberation movement.
Interestingly, Mashonaland Central will be hosting the ruling party’s annual conference this year.
All this comes as Zanu-PF’s deadly tribal and factional demons are once again wreaking havoc in the former liberation movement, amid fears that these could get to the levels that were seen in the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe.
It also comes amid suggestions that G40 kingpins who fought tenaciously to block Mnangagwa from succeeding Mugabe are regrouping and now bidding to take charge of the party’s district co-ordinating committees (DCCs) – whose elections are pending.
The party insiders told the Daily News that the G40 had targeted Mashonaland Central as one the provinces it could use for its re-incarnation – to the extent that it had allegedly made overtures to Mujuru and former Cabinet minister in Mugabe’s previous governments, Nicholas Goche, among others.
In this regard, Mnangagwa had apparently assigned the principal of the Herbert Chitepo School of Ideology, Munyaradzi Machacha, to approach both Mujuru and Goche to return to the party.
“The G40 cabal wants to take charge of Mashonaland Central Province as part of their broader strategy to creep back into power.
“They want Mai Mujuru, Goche and some politburo members in the province to be on their side.
“Of late Goche has gone very, very quiet and is no longer attending party meetings and functions like he used to do despite having lost his Cabinet post.
“This is worrying and the president (Mnangagwa) is concerned. The president has asked Machacha to ensure that Mujuru returns to the party. The president also wants Goche to bounce back into the central committee,” one of the insiders claimed.
Another source said if Mujuru agreed to re-join Zanu-PF, she would initially come back as an advisor and would also be expected to lead an Elders’ Council that the party intended to establish.
This is the second time that Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF are reaching out to Mujuru and other ex-party bigwigs – with the former liberation movement keen to end its long-standing ructions, expand its power base and counter former party officials.
In October last year, Mujuru confirmed to the Daily News that she had been approached by the director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Isaac Moyo, to re-join the ruling party.
Mujuru then said she was ready to re-engage her former comrades-in-arms in Zanu-PF after an unsuccessful stint in opposition politics.
“Situations change and some may say ‘never, over my dead body’. However, when you are in a position such as mine, you can never say never.
“I am no longer looking at Zimbabwe alone, but beyond Zimbabwe and even myself.
“I have to think outside the box as solutions come from different persons. We have to meet as one and come up with solutions.
“If we meet to discuss, we can come out with a solution to our problems,” Mujuru told the Daily News then.
“I am not Mrs Mujuru only, I am also a former vice president. I am, therefore, supported by government structures. Yes, I recently met Isaac Moyo.
“He has the right to visit me to find out how I am. It is not a crime. I am part of the administration of this country. You can’t do away with that arrangement,” she also said at that time.
Mujuru served in government for 34 years until her inglorious exit in 2014 when she was jettisoned by Mugabe from both the government and Zanu-PF – together with several other bigwigs who included Goche – over untested allegations that they were plotting to unseat the late Zimbabwean leader.
The Zanu-PF insiders claimed yesterday that Moyo would work with Machacha “and move mountains” to try and have Mujuru back in the party.
Both Moyo and Machacha were unreachable yesterday.
On his part, Zanu-PF acting spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa, said he would check on the claims.
“I will have to find out about Mai Mujuru because I am not privy to that. But as for Comrade Goche, I thought he was a member of the party. He was never expelled,” he said.
This comes as the widening fissures in Zanu-PF appear to have taken the same route as those of the last few years in power of Mugabe.
It also comes as Zanu-PF is preparing for its highly-contentious DCC polls, which have been marred by allegations of dirty money changing hands and ugly factional fights.
So deep are the suspicions in this regard, that the former liberation movement has now roped in its security department to investigate these allegations, and to deal with the growing ructions within its ranks generally, which have sullied the party’s preparations for the pending DCC elections.
The DCC structures elect Zanu-PF’s 10 provincial executives – where the party and Mnangagwa draw members of the central committee and the politburo from.
The party’s DCCs were disbanded in 2012 after they were deemed to be fanning factionalism during Mnangagwa and Mujuru’s battles to succeed Mugabe.
Then, Mnangagwa’s group had gained control of most regions, including Mujuru’s Mashonaland Central province – putting him in a strong position ahead of the party’s 2014 congress.