A SENIOR Zanu PF youth league official has hit out ruling party “renegades” who recently claimed there was mounting tension over a power handover agreement between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga.
Former Zanu PF member Jim Kunaka claimed at a press conference last week that Mnangagwa has reneged on an agreement to hand-over power to his deputy in terms of a deal reached as part of the 2017 military coup.
The ruling party has since dismissed the claim and youth league legal affairs secretary Phineas Makombe weighed in Tuesday, telling a press conference in Gweru that;
“Jim Kunaka is politically extinct, he has fossilised himself and is best used as a fuel by errant paymasters,”
Chiwenga was the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander when the military ousted then aged and long-time leader Robert Mugabe resulting in Mnangagwa assuming power.
Kunaka said Mnangagwa had failed and should step down, adding that ruling party members wanted exiled former political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere to return and takeover presidency.
Similar claims have also been made by another former party activist Godfrey Tsengengamu.
The ruling party’s director of communication Tafadzwa Mugadi scorned Kunaka’s claims with a warning that he was “playing with fire” and therefore “asking for tragic consequences”.
Political analysts have said there was a possibility Chiwenga could challenge Mnangagwa for the party leadership at Zanu PF’s congress later this year.
“The utterances by Kunaka and Tsenengamu are yet another indication that all is not well in Zanu PF,” political analyst Ibbo Mandaza told local media.
“… the factionalism is building to a climax ahead of the purported congress and above all that Mnangagwa’s political survival hangs in the balance.
“But I rule out another coup; these appear to be political plots to outmanoeuvre Mnangagwa and force him to relent without a fight.”
At his press conference, Kunaka claimed that Mnangagwa was losing support in the party resulting in the establishment of parallel structures
“He (Mnangagwa) has already created parallel structures – Varakashi, Young Women for ED, Men BelievED … Those are now people who are loyal to him and not the organisation itself.”
Makombe however, said there was nothing amiss about the surrogate groups.
“The spurious claims, therefore, that His Excellency is forming parallel structures detached from the party show a clear lack of knowledge of the party’s constitution,” he said.
“For the avoidance of doubt all these affiliates after forming themselves and approaching the party to become affiliate members and work with the party.
“In these instances Young Women for ED, Men believe ED etc are working with the party to campaign for the party’s sole (2023 elections) candidate Comrade Dr ED Mnangagwa.”
Makombe dismissed Kunaka and Tsenengamu as political mercenaries for hire.
“The utterances by these impersonators where they approach politics not with loyalty or ideology … but with a mercenary, business mindset which sacrifices principles on the altar of expediency will not move the masses away from the party that brought about the independence of this country,” he said.
“They (Kunaka and Tsenengamu) formulate commentary from their stomach and not the minds and hearts of our masses. It is sad that political irrelevance, greed and stomach politics has led them to such deplorable lows.
“Let me warn these two reprobates that the Youth League shall not sit and watch whilst our president and First Secretary Comrade Dr ED Mnangagwa is attacked left, right and centre.”
He added; “Tsenengamu’s briefcase political party FEEZ is a lousy one-man band in which he is the leader, supporters, structures and grassroots, all rolled into one.
“He cannot be found talking of parties when he himself has failed to mobilise people to support his political outfit, He should go back to the political doldrums with his one-man show.”