A FIERCE storm is brewing within Zanu PF circles with some party hawks calling on Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa to immediately stop hosting political guests at his Kwekwe farm as fears of a coup plot against President Robert Mugabe continue to dog the ruling party.
The calls came after some of Mnangagwa’s bootlickers made some “offensive” and blasphemous remarks as they congratulated him following his recent elevation to the post of Vice-President.
Mnangagwa has recently met several delegations including business leaders at his Kwekwe farm and Zvishavane rural home where he promised a review of the indigenisation legislation to lure foreign direct investment badly needed to reboot the economy.
Soon after his appointment as Vice-President, Mnangagwa pledged to hold several celebration parties in Zvishavane, Kwekwe and at Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba, Mashonaland West province, to pay homage to the 90-year-old party leader.
The Justice minister has already held a number of parties which have, however, been marred by controversy amid fears that he was creating a separate Zanu PF power base apart from Mugabe.
A Sunday Mail columnist Bishop Lazarus, widely believed to be another George Charamba disguise, yesterday urged Mnangagwa to host his guests at his official party and government offices to avoid being linked to another plot to topple Mugabe. Charamba is Mugabe’s personal spokesman.
The warning comes shortly after the ouster of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and several high-ranking members of her cabal over similar charges.
The columnist insinuated that some businesspeople had in the past flocked to the late army general Solomon Mujuru’s farm in Beatrice to pay homage and were hounded following his death in 2011.
“We don’t want a repeat of that in Kwekwe because that would be tragic and very unfortunate. VP Mnangagwa is a veteran politician and we hope he will move the courtesy calls from the farm in Kwekwe to either his offices or some other place that suits his important office,” the columnist said.
He said the relaxation of the empowerment laws was against the Zanu PF congress resolution that has called for further tightening of the screws.
The columnist said claims that relaxation of the empowerment laws would lure investors was a lie “that is peddled by lazy businesspeople and armchair economic analysts”.
Since his appointment as Mugabe’s second-in-command, Mnangagwa has been dousing the flames created by his inner cabal whose bootlicking antics had reached overdrive.
Politburo member Joram Gumbo recently warned Zanu PF supporters against idolising Mnangagwa after Zanu PF’s secretary for production Josaya Hungwe equated the Vice-President to Jesus Christ. Mnangagwa had to apologise after some ministers were chased away from a celebration party at his Zvishavane rural home.
As the crusade to hero-worship Mnangagwa continues, Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Faber Chidarikire on Saturday referred to Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxillia, as Acting First Lady, a remark which riled several party officials attending a Zanu PF celebration party in Chinhoyi.
NewsDay is reliably informed that the ongoing idolisation of Mnangagwa and projecting him as Mugabe’s heir-apparent has already annoyed some senior party members who were involved in Mujuru’s ouster.
“This explains why stories and opinions against Mnangagwa are finding their way in the State media,” an impeccable source said.
The source added: “That is why the State media attacked Hungwe after he called Mnangagwa the ‘Son of Man’.”
Days after Hungwe was called to order in the State media following his widely-condemned blasphemous remarks, Information minister Jonathan Moyo declared that Mnangagwa’s elevation did not mean he had become Mugabe’s heir-apparent.
Political analysts said the latest developments were not a new phenomenon in Zanu PF politics.
“If you look at all these developments, it is an extension of Zanu PF agenda since the 1980s where some members are bent on showering praise on those that will have assumed positions of authority,” analyst Alexander Rusero said.
“In other countries, it is the business that controls politics, but when you talk of Zimbabwe, politics controls business. It is very interesting that looking at Mnangagwa’s issue, he is now the Vice-President and is strategically positioned to take over after Mugabe’s era. For that reason, many people are now starting this boot-licking strategy in order for them to get closer to Mnangagwa so that in the event that he assumes power, they will benefit from it.”
Rusero added: “You may also note that business without political blessing is not lucrative in Zimbabwe. This may be the reason why most of these business people are rushing to congratulate him at his farm and not at his offices.”
Another analyst Ernest Mudzengi said: “The problem is lack of policy clarity which has placed the businesspeople and the country at large in a state of economic desperation. This is why you will find businesspeople going out of their way to meet government officials elsewhere.”
Mnangagwa could not be reached for comment yesterday.