HARARE – Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s embarrassing about-turn at the weekend over the senatorial prospects of former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono was apparently made at the behest of a miffed President Robert Mugabe, the Daily News has learnt.
Highly-placed sources said yesterday that Mugabe had voiced concern with Mnangagwa for allegedly misleading the nation on the outcome of a key politburo meeting last Wednesday regarding Gono’s senatorial bid.
Interviewed by a partisan State media after the heated politburo meeting, Mnangagwa said pointedly that Gono’s Senate bid was now a “closed chapter” as the party would go by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s conclusion that Gono could not be appointed senator for Buhera.
However, party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo insisted even then that Mnangagwa was offside over the issue, explaining further that a committee had been set up to ensure that Gono would be appointed a senator once the legal challenges had been looked into and dealt with.
The seat that Gono has been nominated for by Manicaland Province was left vacant following the death of former liberation war hero Kumbirai Kangai.
Mnangagwa’s utterances are said to have irked Mugabe who reportedly went on to order the party strongman to publicly correct his misinformation.
“President Mugabe was not happy at all that Mnangagwa was choosing to mislead the nation, yet the politburo had ruled very clearly that the legal committee had to ensure that Gono was made senator but without breaking the law cited by Zec.
“This is why Mnangagwa performed his embarrassing somersault, bizarrely blaming journalists and insulting them as being uneducated yet he deliberately told the media that Gono’s issue was now a closed chapter.
“Everyone is watching how all this will pan out, as events have still to fully play out,” the well-placed source said.
Describing Mugabe’s unhappiness over the matter as a possible turning point, another source said the president had insisted that he believed an agreement was possible regarding the ex-central bank governor’s senate seat. The president FROM P1
apparently demanded to know the “real” obstacles for the politburo’s resolution on the matter to be realised.
This matter is being played out as Zanu PF is currently engulfed in bitter factional and succession contests between supporters of Mnangagwa and Vice President Joice Mujuru. This war of attrition has become dirtier and uglier in recent months, involving deceit, lies and skulduggery.
Reports indicate that the Mnangagwa faction wants ex-CIO boss Shadreck Chipanga to replace Kangai as they allegedly fear that Gono is too close to Mugabe for their comfort.
The Mnangagwa group has also allegedly been battling to link Gono to the Mujuru faction, although the former RBZ boss insists that he remains loyal only to Mugabe.-Daily News