Alleged power struggles within the ruling Zanu PF have now taken a new twist after Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on Thursday reportedly snubbed a field day event at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Precabe Farm in the Sherwood ressetlement area near the Midlands town of Kwekwe.
According to reports, Chiwenga, who was supposed to grace the event as guest-of-honour, inexplicably snubbed the event, forcing a sudden change of programme which saw Defence Minister Oppar Muchinguri being assigned the keynote speaker at an event graced by various Politburo members and bussed Zanu PF supporters.
A report in one privately-owned daily publication indicates that the debatably militant Chiwenga cancelled the Sherwood trip as he was allegedly not happy with Mnangagwa’s regular meetings with close confidants at Precabe Farm.
The latest incident flies hard in the face of state media insinuations that Chiwenga’s surprise visit to the farm, in the company of his driver early this year, was a show of a healthy working relationship between the two.
In diametric contrast to the state media claims, a source said the January surprise visit at Precabe Farm by Chiwenga was a deliberate move by the apparently ‘curious’ former military boss to check on the goings-on at the embattled First Family farm.
Zwnews also understands that just a day before the field day tour of Precabe Farm, Mnangagwa was also locked in a heated meeting with members of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) at the Midlands-based farm.
The press-free meeting, which started at around 9am Wednesday morning, reportedly ended right in the afternoon as succession fissures continue to rock the long-ruling Zanu PF in the wake of the emergence of new factions angling to wrestle the presidency from an unsettled Mnangagwa.
Speaking of the alleged snub, a source told Newsday:
“Today, he (Chiwenga) snubbed an important event and it is a latest indication of the power struggles between the two. Why would Chiwenga not come when he is in the country? With a helicopter, it’s a journey of less than two hours from Harare.”
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba ambiguously claimed that Chiwenga’s absence emanated from the fact that Mnangagwa had assigned him ‘elsewhere’.
“That he did not come does not show that the two have a rift. That would be a creation of the media. The truth is that he was given another assignment, that is the reason why he did not come. How can he snub his boss? Yourself, can you snub your Editor?” Charamba was quoted as saying.
Chiwenga propelled Mnangagwa to the presidency after masterminding a military coup that dethroned late dictator Robert Mugabe during the dramatic political events of November 2017 but their working relationship has remained grossly questionable since then.