ZANU PF has threatened a dissident group claiming to be part of it which recently claimed President Emmerson Mnangagwa no longer served interests of the party.
The group told journalists Mnangagwa had backtracked on an earlier agreement to serve only one presidential term before handing over power to his deputy, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.
Named Zanu PF Original, the outfit led by former youth league leader Jim Kunaka, recently held a press conference donning ruling party attire, denouncing Mnangagwa’s leadership and backing Chiwenga whom they claimed is supposed to take over and contest in the 2023 presidential election.
Kunaka’s utterances came after another former ruling party leader ,Godfrey Tsenengamu, now fronting the Front for Economic Emancipation in Zimbabwe (FEEZ) also held a press conference in the capital, urging exiled ex-cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere to return and take over leadership of Zanu PF.
In a scathing response to the claims, Zanu PF director of information, Tafadzwa Mugwadi said the two ‘headless activists’ must stop playing with fire.
“We have taken notice of threats issued by renegades and headless activists targeted at the presidency of the republic,” said Mugwadi.
“The unsolicited false remarks by Tsenengamu and the Chipangano violent hooligan Jim Kunaka suggesting strife between the President of the republic Mnangagwa and Vice President Chiwenga have no place in this republic. To even invite our esteemed defence forces into these baseless claims is most unfortunate.
“As director of information and publicity of the ruling party, I invite the public to ignore the two embattled renegades and those behind them. They are not members of Zanu PF anymore.
“For the record, Kunaka was expelled from the party in 2014. He later joined NPF (National Patriotic Front), he left it for MDC Alliance, joined CCC (Citizens Coalition for Change) and now he is partyless. The same goes for Tsenengamu. They are not members of Zanu PF at all.”
Mugwadi further demanded that Kunaka and Tsenengamu stop abusing Zanu PF party regalia and spreading claims that there is a rift between Mnangagwa and Chiwenga.
He added: “While it could be expectable that individuals could be excited, playing with fire is beyond one’s limits. It is one thing to criticise Cde ED Mnangagwa as a Zanu PF president and first secretary and a different thing altogether to seek the unconstitutional removal of His Excellency Cde ED Mnangagwa as President and commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“To attempt the latter, expressly or impliedly, will be tantamount to asking for tragic consequences. This tomfoolery must therefore just stop forthwith. Abusing party registered memorabilia and trademarks by expelled elements organizing clandestine press conferences to undermine our party and leadership has indeed gone too, too far. It must just stop.”
Factionalism has reemerged in the ruling party where some members feel Mnangagwa will not stand a chance at the 2023 polls against the CCC’s Nelson Chamisa.
There have been growing calls from even the party’s headquarters for Mnangagwa to either handover the baton to Chiwenga or ensure exiled Kasukuwere takes over.