Source: Joram Gumbo defends Mnangagwa | The Financial Gazette January 26, 2017
JORAM Gumbo, the ZANU-PF provincial chairman for the Midlands, has sprung to the defence of under fire Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been receiving brickbats from fellow party cadres for inviting guests who were expelled from the ruling party to a New Year’s eve party.
The incident, which happened at Mnangagwa’s hilltop home in rural Mapanzure in the Midlands, attracted the ire of opponents in his party.
At the party, the Vice President was photographed hobnobbing with controversial characters such as Energy Mutodi, a fierce critic of President Robert Mugabe.
The pictures, which went viral on social media, also included one in which Mnangagwa was holding a coffee mug with the words: “I’m the boss,” inscribed on it.
This was viewed by his rivals as betraying his presidential ambitions.
Three weeks ago, provincial chairmen issued a statement castigating Mnangagwa for merrymaking with the so-called renegades that were expelled or suspended from ZANU-PF.
But Gumbo, considered to be one of the loyalists of the Vice President, played down the furore this week.
“There is nothing sinister about that event. This is what we have been doing in the Midlands. We used to meet at his (Mnangagwa’s) home in Redcliff, Kwekwe, or at (former justice minister) Byron Hove’s home in Buchwa. So this is not a new creation; we are only just pleased that now there are people from other provinces coming to grace the occasion,” said Gumbo.
“It was just a private gathering of family and friends. People go there uninvited and it is not somebody’s business to chase people who come to eat and drink. I did not attend despite being the interim provincial chairman because I was having my own function with my people, so I don’t know who in their right senses would say so and so should not be around.”
Vengai Musengi, who was expelled from the party last year for insubordination, is one of those who have spoken out in defence of the Vice President.
“For a fact, we went there as individuals; no one was invited to that party (hence) I do not know why G40 (Generation 40) people are making a meal out of it. This is a G40 plot to get the Vice President to be censured, but it is ill-fated. It is very ridiculous that they want people not to have private lives. We went there as Zimbabwe’s citizens and not as politicians. We might have been expelled from ZANU-PF, but we were certainly not expelled from people’s lives,” Musengi was quoted saying recently.
The G40 outfit is at the forefront of opposition against Mnangagwa’s ascendency to the country’s top job in the event that the incumbent retires from politics.