ZIMBABWE – Zanu PF wants President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba to produce evidence linking senior ruling party officials to expelled vice-president Joice Mujuru’s People First project.
The demands made by Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo followed a controversial radio interview where Charamba accused Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and other unnamed party officials of working with Mujuru.
He claimed the alliance was motivated by attempts to thwart Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s chances to succeed Mugabe.
Charamba alleged that Mugabe knew about the group’s plot and would soon take action against them.
He said the faction known as Generation 40 was abusing the First Family’s name to position itself in the fluid succession battle to succeed the soon to be 92-year-old leader.
Khaya-Moyo told The Standard in an interview yesterday that Charamba should provide evidence to back his claims for the ruling party to take action.
“You said Charamba said that? He should tell us who they are. Where are they? We want to know, and the party must take action not on speculative issues but clear issues,” Khaya-Moyo said.
“I have no knowledge of what you are talking about. the person who said that must provide details and names of people doing that.”
Mugabe told the Zanu PF conference held in Victoria Falls last December that security forces and the intelligence had been drawn into the ruling party’s infighting.
The unexpected admission followed spirited attacks by Mugabe and Charamba on the private media for reporting that there was factionalism in Zanu PF.
Mugabe and his aide at the time claimed the reports were false.
Khaya-Moyo said Mugabe had spoken out against factionalism in the party and he should be listened to.
“The issue of factionalism was said loud and clear by the president himself, he said the party must unite and warned against people who harbour ambitions and are sowing the seed of factionalism, so I will not comment on that but will just say the president had his final word on the issue,” he added.
Moyo described Charamba as an idiot for suggesting he was working with Mujuru.
“The idiot is anyone who believes I am working with Mai Mujuru’s PF,” he tweeted on Friday. “It would take a blithering idiot to believe that.
Meanwhile, Charamba’s outburst has fuelled speculation Mugabe had a hand in the latest public fights.
Sources said developments at State House last Thursday suggested Charamba was reading Mugabe’s script.
“Charamba offered ZiFM stereo the interview after Mugabe had a meeting with Mnangagwa at State House,” a well-placed source said.
“The interview was actually unsolicited, Charamba actually looked for the reporter to give the interview after Mugabe and Mnangagwa’s meeting.”
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said there was no way Charamba would attack Moyo without the blessings of his boss.
He said Mugabe could be angry that G40 was abusing his wife’s name in the party’s succession wars and wanted to give a stern warning that heads will roll if such behaviour continued.
“Charamba was expressing the voice of his master. He could not call ZiFM to State House if he was not expressing the views of his boss,” he said.
“I really cannot distinguish what Charamba said from what his master would say.
He said Mugabe could be unhappy with G40’s alleged misuse of the First Lady’s name.
“What Charamba said was more than a warning that the Ides of February are coming to those who were implicated,” Masunungure said.
“It’s a warning to them that they will be surprised one afternoon if they continue with their behaviour.
“Remember he now has the power in both party and government to chop undesirable elements.
“Let us wait and see how things will unfold when Mugabe is back from the African Union summit.”
Political analyst Alexander Rusero echoed the same sentiments, saying Charamba’s views aired in the interview were commissioned by Mugabe.
“Charamba might be politically incorrect, but he is representing Mugabe,” he said.
“He is coming from a pseudo name, Manheru to clearly assert his position as Mugabe’s spokesperson.
“Mugabe is central to all what is happening between his spokesperson and Moyo.
“Very soon, heads are going to roll. Charamba is better placed to understand Mugabe than anyone else after having worked with him for the past 20 years.
“Why is all this happening soon after Mugabe’s return from his annual holiday?”
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said both Charamba and Moyo had Mugabe’s authority.
He said Mugabe was using divide and rule tactics so that he could hang on to power.
“The point of playing factions against each other is to make them all believe they have the instructions of the most high in their organisation, in order to leave them more nervous and in a stalemate. The therefore will be no winner in this fight as the factions will be locked in a game of attrition that has no end in sight,” Mafume said.
“The president is laying the grounds for a compromise candidate of choice.
“As the factions become so steeped in self-hatred, they will hold the firm belief that they will not be safe if either of them wins and therefore will be in a position to gladly accept any way out that the president suggests.”
However, political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said Charamba had misfired.
“On whose authority is he saying this? He is trying to represent Mugabe, but on this one he has lost it,” Mandaza said.
Mugabe used to play Mnangagwa and Mujuru’s factions against each before he eventually fired the former Mt Darwin legislator.