Noticing that his deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa (ED) was slowly winning the battle to State House against G40 faction, former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe tried to stop ED from ascending to power, by purging his loyalists, but it was a little too late.
Mugabe knew it very well, that come the ZANU PF 2017 National People’s Congress which was then due in few weeks, Mnangagwa was set to be voted in to take over from him, just like what was planned during the botched Tsholotsho Declaration of 2004.
Similarly, during the Tsholotsho Declaration it was planned that come the 2004 ZANU PF, National People’s Congress, a clause was going to be voted into the party’s constitution that would have positioned Mnangagwa to take over from Mugabe.
However, things didn’t go as planned then.
Fast forward to 2017, the same scenario was in the making, based on the recent events in as much as the battle to succeed Mugabe was concerned, it was clear that Mnangagwa was going to be voted in. He had too much support, mainly from those with proven war credentials.
To reduce the Team Lacoste’s voting powers in favour of ED, Mugabe and his G40 cabal went into overdrive purging most of the party members who were believed to be Team Lacoste linked. This saw a number of senior ZANU PF members being booted out from the party through votes of no confidence.
Most of the targeted people were among those with war credentials, who could identify themselves well with ED, than the G40, in one way or the other; this could have angered the army. The military commanders knew also that they would have no honour and relevance under a G40 political dispensation.
Some of the expelled members include various provincial bigwigs and district chairpersons who had voting powers at the congress. By expelling such people so as to reduce their voting powers, Mugabe was also playing a mind game, instilling fear to those who would have remained against aligning themselves to ED.
In the G40 vocabulary, even the war veterans had no place.
However, Mugabe’s attempts came too late, as ED had already finished his game well. The purgings even triggered discontent among neutral members, yet again Mugabe lost it; As they ganged up against him, with the military adding its voice demanding that the political purgings should be immediately halted and reversed.
Mugabe ignored this until the day military tanks rolled into downtown Harare and only left when he was gone and ED was installed as new leader of Zimbabwe and Zanu PF
Peter Nyoni is a Zimabwean businessman, he travels frequently between Harare and South Africa. He writes in his own capacity