PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has stopped an effective coup attempt by Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies and the veteran leader now plans action to neuter his unruly deputy, a respected Harare academic and political commentator has claimed.
Zimbabwe has over the past few week watched a curious ruling Zanu PF party spectacle in which local government minister Saviour Kakusukuwere was accused of trying to topple President Mugabe.
Country-wide no confidence votes were staged in a bid to force Kasukuwere, who is also the Zanu PF national commissar, out of the party and government with some of the provincial meetings attended by cabinet ministers.
And with all ten of the party’s administrative provinces reportedly endorsing the no confidence motions, Kasukuwere’s fate looked to be sealed.
However, the process appears to have collapsed spectacularly earlier this week after a ruling party probe team was dispatched to the minister’s Mashonaland Central home province.
That probe team, Harare political insider, author and academic Ibbo Mandaza claimed, was representative of President Mugabe moving swiftly to crush what was effectively a coup attempt by his deputy.
Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly leads the Lacoste Zanu PF faction which is pushing for him to succeed the 93-year-old Mugabe.
Kasukuwere is cast as one of the leaders of the rival G40 which is determined to stop Mnangagwa but demurs about its succession preference.
According to Mandaza, Mnangagwa’s allies in the military were in charge the anti-Kasukuwere no confidence votes.
Said Mandaza in an interview (click here for audio) with UK-based journalist Violet Gonda; “If the reports of this fight back by Emmerson (Mnangagwa) are true, then it appears that we have a fight on.
“Over the weekend the Lacoste people were boasting that they were 80% done with G40, and evidence has also emerged of a well-coordinated offensive on the part of Lacoste with key persons around Emmerson Mnangagwa reported to be in charge of the processes of no confidence and demonstrations in the various provinces.”
Targeting Kasukuwere, Mandaza said, was a miscalculation on the part of Mnangagwa and his group.
The G40 faction, whose drivers are said to be Kasukuwere, higher education minister Jonathan Moyo and empowerment counterpart Patrick Zhuwao, is thought to represent the interests of President Mugabe and his family.
“I think, this time, the Lacoste have gone too far and Mugabe has realised that the (Kasukuwere) attack is actually against him; that’s clear,” said Mandaza.
“It is unlikely, highly unlikely, that Kasukuwere would have done anything, including the issue of the so-called parallel structures, without Mugabe’s permission, without Mugabe’s consent.
“And as I said earlier on, if you are going to try and undress a guy like Kasukuwere, who for all we know, there is nothing that Kasukuwere has done without the authority or the approval of the President, it is clear that to attack Kasukuwere, you are actually attacking Mugabe himself.
“And it appears that over the last 24 hours, that reality has dawned on the powers that be. So, as they say, proverbially, watch this space in the next few days we have a fight on.”
Mugabe is now plotting retaliatory measures against Mnangagwa and his allies, Mandaza added.
He explained; “They may have provoked a hornet’s nest so to speak because, as we expect Mugabe to react, and he has already reacted.
“From what I’ve heard, he is likely now to put in process country-wide new provincial elections and under his own leadership or guidance, but using Kasukuwere and (Home Affairs Minister) Ignatius Chombo to do the job.
“What you will see basically, in the next few weeks, is a fight back, led by the old man himself as they roll back the kind of offensive which appeared on the face of it to be an attack on Kasukuwere.
“As I said earlier on, it appears that the Lacoste have over-reached themselves, it appears that it has backfired and the fight back has begun by Mugabe, by the G40.”