Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has for the first time come to the defence of his beleaguered allies — urging them to unflinchingly stand by their own, the Daily News can report.
In a sudden turn of events, Mnangagwa — who had earned a reputation of sacrificing his own to save his skin — showed some rare muscle over the weekend when he told his backers not to succumb to undue pressure from outside for as long as they stood by their convictions.
He also appeared to suggest that he was poisoned around mid-August while attending a Zanu PF rally in Gwanda, Matabeleland South.
Mnangagwa allegedly fronts a faction in Zanu PF known as Team Lacoste, pushing for him to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
He had until now remained silent inspite of being a recipient of relentless verbal attacks from a rival faction going by the moniker, Generation 40 (G40).
Mugabe and, his wife Grace, have recently directed their salvos at Mnangagwa as well.
At the ruling party’s most recent rally in Bindura, Grace openly confronted Mnangagwa, telling him that she would soon campaign for his ouster in the same manner that she did to Mnangagwa’s predecessor, Joice Mujuru.
Mugabe and Grace, who were the main speakers at the event in Mashonaland Central, were also heavily critical of Masvingo province, which they said needed to be restructured to destroy factionalism.
Mugabe himself pointed out that he would ensure the province was “put back on track”.
Mnangagwa enjoys massive support in the province.
On Saturday, Mnangagwa spoke highly of the people of Masvingo province.
He described the region as the number one province, and urged his supporters not to succumb to pressure from outside for as long as they stood by their convictions.
Addressing hordes of people who converged at Mupandawana Growth Point in Gutu District, Masvingo province, for the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Shuvai Mahofa’s memorial service on Saturday, he told the ecstatic gathering that there was likely not to be a happy ending to the gnawing factional fights in Zanu PF being spearheaded by “political greenhorns”.
“People from Masvingo say there is an issue at the end of it all. Have we reached the end yet?” he is heard posing the rhetoric question, attracting a deafening chorus of the no answer.
He continued after the noises subside: “We heard that song when we came here for the conference in December last year. We heard people singing that there is an issue at the end of it all. But I say we have not reached the end yet, we have not yet gotten where the issue you sang about is.
“So if you hear people singing that there is an issue at the end, you need to examine yourself to see where you will be standing when the end comes regarding that issue…One needs to stand by his principles and by the truth; accept what you accept and reject what you reject — no double standards,” he bellowed, amid frenzied exclamations from the crowd.
He then started to wax lyrical of the province, his citadel.
“Masvingo is the best province, whatever anyone says about it, they should know that, as you pointed out in the song, there is an issue at the end and this issue will go all the way to the end. All these stories you hear will end when the end comes,” he charged.
Mnangagwa, speaking in riddles and innuendos, said he hoped he would live to witness the end, “when all the lies being peddled against me shall be exposed when the truth comes out”.
“People of Masvingo should not be intimidated. You should continue doing what we have been doing because there is nothing wrong with supporting one of your own. The province deserves respect.
“Let me tell you a little story but one which is big to those that can discern. It is the province of Masvingo, which asked the party leadership to declare Mai Mahofa a national hero. It is only those you work closely with who can bear witnesses for you, not those from other provinces, so stay with your people so that tomorrow, they will bear witnesses for you,” he said.
Mnangagwa then turned the guns on what he termed political newcomers who are trying to wrest control of Zanu PF, apparently referring to perceived G40 exponents.
“Those who joined lately along the way now think the journey is theirs. It is not and it will never be. They are like someone who wants to catch fish from a rock; they will soon discover that it is not possible to catch fish from a rock. There is God in heaven,” he exclaimed.
Mnangagwa also appeared to suggest that he was actually poisoned in the same way Mahofa was in 2015.
“I came here to tell you that what happened to Mai Mahofa in Victoria Falls is the same thing which happened to me,” he said.
Mahofa, one of Mnangagwa’s fiercest allies and a Team Lacoste bulwark in Masvingo province, left the Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls in 2015 wheelchair-bound amid suspicions she had been poisoned by party rivals.
She then spent two months recuperating in a South African hospital before she resurfaced in March 2016.
Ironically, Mahofa died early morning on August 13 this year, just hours after Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa for treatment after he suddenly fell ill while attending a Zanu PF rally in Gwanda. daily news