Harare: Reports that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was poisoned through ice cream supplied by President Robert Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairies have opened a can of worms in Masvingo province, where top Zanu PF officials have accused Tourism minister Walter Mzembi of “falsely” implicating them in a desperate bid to curry favour with the ageing Zanu PF leader.

Mzembi now stands accused of fronting a smear campaign against Zanu PF leading figures in the politically volatile province and setting them up against Mugabe.

This came as Zanu PF youths in Midlands province yesterday insisted that Mnangagwa was poisoned, contrary to the party’s position that he had reacted to stale food. Mnangagwa suffered severe diarrhoea and vomiting before he was airlifted to South Africa after reportedly ingesting food laced with poison at a youth interface rally addressed by Mugabe in Gwanda two weeks ago.

 supposedly “intelligence report” told Mugabe that the First Family’s Gushungo Dairies had been fingered in the alleged Mnangagwa assassination bid.

The report alleged there was a sinister agenda against Gushungo Dairies being pushed by Mnangagwa’s top allies – Psychomotor Activities minister Josaya Hungwe, Zanu PF deputy secretary for administration July Moyo, Zanu PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke, Masvingo provincial chairman Ezra Chadzamira, former Cabinet minister Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana and axed Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs Pupurai Togarepi – as the chief culprits in the anti-Mugabe campaign.

But Matuke and Mangwana yesterday accused Mzembi of “playing to the gallery” as part of his plan to “re-integrate” himself into Zanu PF after his failed international sojourn to land the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general post. newsday