Matibiri’s outfit comprised of T-Shirts labelled HE (His Excellency) with Mugabe’s signature on the back and a beret with the same features.
“It was Matibiri’s outfit which won the hearts of many delegates. That is why they jostled to put it on because it was new. However, officials sympathetic to Chombo were incensed by the development and tried to limit its prominence because it would have given a ‘wrong’ impression on Mugabe and the top brass. That is how the chaos started,” explained a ZANU (pf) source inside the conference center.
While Matibiri is understood to be in the Mnangagwa camp to which the Midlands Development Association chairman and deputy provincial party leader, Larry Mavhima also belongs, Chombo is reportedly in the Mujuru camp.
The midlands provincial Governor, Jaison Machaya is the Midlands ZANU (PF) chairman. He is reportedly linked to the Mujuru faction.
Other sources who explained to The Zimbabwean circumstances surrounding the regalia chaos said the Mnangagwa grouping was desperate to get all the credit for the successful hosting of the conference in order to improve the Defence minister’s chances in the succession battle.
“It is the first time since independence that the party has held its conference in such an expensively built hall. So Mnangagwa wanted all the credit. That is why Mavhima headed the campaign instead of Machaya who is the provincial party chairman,” said another source.
Meanwhile, business almost came to a halt in the city as Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopters hovered all over the city center in the morning ahead of Mugabe’s arrival.
Millitary sources said the move known as area mapping was meant to check the effectiveness of security details deployed in the city while also “fishing out hideouts and potential terrorist attack zones.”
However, to the ordinary man on the streets the scenario was another example of the dictatorial tendencies bent on instilling fear on the masses in order to stifle opposition.