Andrew Kunambura 2 October 2017
HARARE – Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has for the first
time come to the defence of his beleaguered allies – urging them to
unflinchingly stand by their own, the Daily News can report.
In a sudden turn of events, Mnangagwa – who had earned a reputation of
sacrificing his own to save his skin – showed some rare muscle over the
weekend when he told his backers not to succumb to undue pressure from
outside for as long as they stood by their convictions.
He also appeared to suggest that he was poisoned around mid-August while
attending a Zanu PF rally in Gwanda, Matabeleland South.
Mnangagwa allegedly fronts a faction in Zanu PF known as Team Lacoste,
pushing for him to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
He had until now remained silent inspite of being a recipient of
relentless verbal attacks from a rival faction going by the moniker,
Generation 40 (G40).
Mugabe and, his wife Grace, have recently directed their salvos at
Mnangagwa as well.
At the ruling party’s most recent rally in Bindura, Grace openly
confronted Mnangagwa, telling him that she would soon campaign for his
ouster in the same manner that she did to Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Joice
Mugabe and Grace, who were the main speakers at the event in Mashonaland
Central, were also heavily critical of Masvingo province, which they said
needed to be restructured to destroy factionalism.
Mugabe himself pointed out that he would ensure the province was “put back
Mnangagwa enjoys massive support in the province.
On Saturday, Mnangagwa spoke highly of the people of Masvingo province.
He described the region as the number one province, and urged his
supporters not to succumb to pressure from outside for as long as they
stood by their convictions.
Addressing hordes of people who converged at Mupandawana Growth Point in
Gutu District, Masvingo province, for the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs
minister, Shuvai Mahofa’s memorial service on Saturday, he told the
ecstatic gathering that there was likely not to be a happy ending to the
gnawing factional fights in Zanu PF being spearheaded by “political
“People from Masvingo say there is an issue at the end of it all. Have we
reached the end yet?” he is heard posing the rhetoric question, attracting
a deafening chorus of the no answer.
He continued after the noises subside: “We heard that song when we came
here for the conference in December last year. We heard people singing
that there is an issue at the end of it all. But I say we have not reached
the end yet, we have not yet gotten where the issue you sang about is.
“So if you hear people singing that there is an issue at the end, you need
to examine yourself to see where you will be standing when the end comes
regarding that issue…One needs to stand by his principles and by the
truth; accept what you accept and reject what you reject – no double
standards,” he bellowed, amid frenzied exclamations from the crowd.
He then started to wax lyrical of the province, his citadel.
“Masvingo is the best province, whatever anyone says about it, they should
know that, as you pointed out in the song, there is an issue at the end
and this issue will go all the way to the end. All these stories you hear
will end when the end comes,” he charged.
Mnangagwa, speaking in riddles and innuendos, said he hoped he would live
to witness the end, “when all the lies being peddled against me shall be
exposed when the truth comes out”.
“People of Masvingo should not be intimidated. You should continue doing
what we have been doing because there is nothing wrong with supporting one
of your own. The province deserves respect.
“Let me tell you a little story but one which is big to those that can
discern. It is the province of Masvingo, which asked the party leadership
to declare Mai Mahofa a national hero. It is only those you work closely
with who can bear witnesses for you, not those from other provinces, so
stay with your people so that tomorrow, they will bear witnesses for you,”
Mnangagwa then turned the guns on what he termed political newcomers who
are trying to wrest control of Zanu PF, apparently referring to perceived
“Those who joined lately along the way now think the journey is theirs. It
is not and it will never be. They are like someone who wants to catch fish
from a rock; they will soon discover that it is not possible to catch fish
from a rock. There is God in heaven,” he exclaimed.
Mnangagwa also appeared to suggest that he was actually poisoned in the
same way Mahofa was in 2015.
“I came here to tell you that what happened to Mai Mahofa in Victoria
Falls is the same thing which happened to me,” he said.
Mahofa, one of Mnangagwa’s fiercest allies and a Team Lacoste bulwark in
Masvingo province, left the Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls in 2015
wheelchair-bound amid suspicions she had been poisoned by party rivals.
She then spent two months recuperating in a South African hospital before
she resurfaced in March 2016.
Ironically, Mahofa died early morning on August 13 this year, just hours
after Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa for treatment after he
suddenly fell ill while attending a Zanu PF rally in Gwanda.
The sudden illness, which included successive vomit and diarrhoea bouts,
raised widespread speculation that he could have been poisoned.
The claims, however, angered the first family as it was thought the
embattled vice president may have consumed poison-laced ice cream from the
first family’s Alpha Omega dairy business.