HARARE – As the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe continues to escalate, Zimbabwe’s war veterans have warned the soft spoken Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi — saying he risks ending his political career if he allows himself to be “used” by G40 faction.

This comes as Sekeramayi — who together with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is the longest serving minister in Mugabe’s Cabinet — last week received effusive praise from Zanu PF politburo member and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, in a move which has further fuelled the ruling party’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars.

Moyo — who Zanu PF insiders claim is one of the kingpins of the Generation 40 (G40) faction which is fiercely opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — threw the cat among the pigeons in the warring former liberation movement after he threw Sekeramayi’s name into the party’s life-and-death succession brawl.

But the disgruntled war veterans warned Sekeramayi yesterday that it would be a “big mistake and miscalculation” on his part if he “ever allowed his head to be turned by the unusual praise” that he received from Moyo.

“He (Moyo) knows very well that once confirmed that Sekeramayi now leads the so-called G40 faction which has been abandoned by the first family, then attacks from the so-called Team Lacoste camp will now be targeting Sekeramayi.

“If that happens, it will be a great achievement for Jonathan Moyo and his masters, who will once more watch ‘real comrades’ fighting each other.

“Sekeramayi should be wary of the G40 faction, whose idea is to isolate the president from former liberation war comrades.

“They (G40) have attacked ED (Mnangagwa) before, and now they are setting up Sekeramayi for failure,” the secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Victor Matemadanda, told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

Speaking at Sapes Trust in Harare on Thursday, Moyo had appeared to endorse Sekeramayi as Mugabe’s more acceptable successor compared to Mnangagwa.

“The notion peddled by the so-called Team Lacoste that its leader is the only one who is above or senior to everyone else below President Mugabe is false and that falsehood should stop. There are others that are senior to the leader of the so-called Team Lacoste,” Moyo said.

This prompted political analysts to say the G40 faction appeared to have settled for Sekeramayi as its preferred candidate, after realising that it didn’t have anyone within its ranks who could match Mnangagwa.

“The selection of Sekeramayi by Moyo and allies owes more to the forces of political expediency — probably what they are calling ‘practical politics’ — than principle. It can only be explained by the argument that the group opposed to Mnangagwa had to find someone who could match him pound for pound.

Mugabe has studiously refused to name a successor, arguing that his party should rather follow what he sees as a more democratic process, to manage his succession via a congress. Daily News