HARARE – The Generation 40 (G40) faction is bidding to bring together former vice president Joice Mujuru and the MDC as part of its wider campaign to stop President Emmerson Mnangagwa from winning this year’s make-or-break elections whose dates are yet to be announced.
G40 was locked in a bitter political war with Mnangagwa whom it fought with the help of former president Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, before the intervention of the military which overran the faction when it launched Operation Restore legacy on November 15 last year.
The intervention, which the military said was not a coup, resulted in the fall of Mugabe and arrests of several Cabinet ministers linked to the G40 whose kingpins — Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao — fled into self-imposed exile.
Yesterday, sources told the Daily News that a “workshop” of key opposition parties currently underway in Cape Town, South Africa, which brought together Mujuru and MDC vice presidents — Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe — was part of a grand plan to have Mugabe’s former deputy join hands with G40 and the MDC.
The G40 has been working feverishly to have Mnangagwa and his government declared illegitimate, citing the manner in which the 75-year-old assumed the reins.
Disgruntled G40 stalwarts have written to the regional and continental bodies — the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union (AU) — appealing for their intervention to help Zimbabwe return to “constitutional rule”.
Sources said Mujuru’s appearance at the Cape Town “workshop” was just as curious as Khupe and Mudzuri’s presence as both the National People’s Party (NPP) leader and the MDC have previously snubbed the organisers of the same workshop — describing the gathering as lacking “clear” objectives.
Mujuru is said to have regained her mojo which coincided with talks she held with Mugabe at his palatial Borrowdale “Blue Roof” mansion last week — three years after she was sacked from both Zanu PF and government by the soon-to-be 94 years old.
The NPP leader was cut loose by Mugabe in the run up to Zanu PF’s 2014 congress, together with other party stalwarts who included former Cabinet ministers — Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo — on untested allegations of seeking to topple the then Zimbabwe leader.
Mujuru’s meeting with Mugabe coincided with the announcement of the formation of the New Patriotic Front (NPF) which is said to be driven by the exiled G40 kingpins.
Sources told the Daily News yesterday that it was the G40 plan to lure Mujuru and the MDC so that it could see the birth of an alliance that would crush Mnangagwa’s hopes of winning the looming elections.
G40 is said to be keen on having Mujuru lead the alliance “especially now that Tsvangirai is heavily weighed down by his ongoing health and fitness issues”.
While MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora who is part of the MDC heavyweights in Cape Town, has said the “workshop” had nothing to do with the suspected G40-wished alliance, back home, the trip has caused anger among senior party officials.
The MDC youth assembly yesterday branded the Cape Town trip by its two VPs and Mwonzora as a “shame”.
The largest opposition party insisted that it had nothing to do with the “workshop” and the trio’s trip.
“Their participation at such a forum directly violates a national council resolution which exclusively mandated the president (Tsvangirai) to deal with such issues.
“The president is on public record to have turned down a similar invitation to attend a similar workshop conducted by the same facilitators. The action by the trio shows great disrespect, not only for the national council resolution but also shows disdain for the party president who, in accordance with the national council decision had refused to associate with such exercises conducted by non Zimbabweans and abroad,” a fuming MDC youth assembly leader Happymore Chidziva, told the Daily News.
Acting MDC chairperson Morgen Komichi told the Daily News that the trio was not representing the party which he said had no interest in the event since it has its own alliance with other opposition parties.
“If it was the party there are certain procedures that have to be followed. The matter should have been brought to the standing committee because it is a policy issue.
“In the case of the MDC Alliance we consulted everyone and if people are going to discuss forming a coalition the same procedure should have been followed. Coming up with another coalition without following due process would create unnecessary contradictions.
“The guys who are in South Africa are not representing the party, the party is not even aware of that meeting, they are there in their individual capacities. I actually want to understand more about what is happening there,” said Komichi.
Mudzuri had been the MDC’s acting president in the absence of Tsvangirai who is currently undergoing treatment in South Africa for colon cancer.
It was not clear whether Mudzuri had finished his turn as Tsvangirai, coincidentally, yesterday announced that another of the party’s VPs, Nelson Chamisa, was now acting on his behalf while he focuses on treatment in South Africa.
Chamisa is hotly tipped to succeed Tsvangirai if the MDC leader steps down as a result of his current battle with cancer.
“President Morgan Tsvangirai has with effect from today, 7 February 2018, affirmed vice president hon. Nelson Chamisa as the acting president of the party by operation of the constitution until the president’s return.
“This is in light of the president’s absence and that of the two other vice presidents who are both in South Africa. VP Chamisa also continues in his assigned duties as the acting chairperson of the MDC Alliance,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said in a statement yesterday.
Already the MDC is showing cracks as a result of factions which are now openly fighting to punt their preferred candidates to replace Tsvangirai.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu tried to downplay the divisions but admitted that the opposition is going through “turbulent” times.
“It is obvious that we are going through a period of turbulence, the good thing is that we are finding each other. The prolonged absence of the leader could have contributed to this turbulence but there is hope that we will find each other.
“We are not a bunch of power mongers. We are having prayers so that we will find avenues to ensure that we can find one another,” said Gutu.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said at a Mashonaland Central rally yesterday that the G40 faction members Savior Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo were meeting with Mujuru in Cape Town to plot against him, in a meeting he claimed was orgamised by the Democracy Institute -a think-tank based in Washington, DC founded in 2006.
“Paaasi nemhanduuuu,” he said in his signature slogan.