Mnangagwa pampered MPs, ministers for political survival
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa pampered legislators and his cabinet ministers with loans ranging between US$40 000 and US$500 000 in order to avoid protest votes, commonly known as bhora musango, from within Zanu PF as well as win over the delicate intra-party factional fight with his deputy Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Zanu PF legislators say.
CCC president Nelson Chamisa, who has described the loans as bribes, also says the loans are Mnangagwa’s attempt to appease Zanu PF MPs ahead of next year’s general elections. He said the money is meant to silence legislators from speaking out against rampant corruption.
“You will be shocked to look at the money that they have been doling out and the trinkets that they have been giving, but, to silence members of Parliament they have had to give them
US$40 000 each, but it is not so much about the CCC, it’s actually so much about Mr Mnangagwa trying to avert a bhora musango (internal sabotage) within Zanu PF because he feels that the MPs are going to vote for themselves, not campaign for him, but campaign for mukomana (Chamisa). But, to avert that, they have had to try and oil the palms of the members of Parliament and they couldn’t do it for Zanu PF only. From what I have investigated, they had to also do it for CCC,” Chamisa told a Zoom meeting organised by the party’s fundraisers on Wednesday.
The government recently gave legislators US$40 000 loans each while deputy ministers pocketed US$350 000 and ministers US$500 000.
Sources told The NewsHawks that the loans — far from cushioning MPs let alone the ministers who already enjoy hefty perks that include an all-terrain vehicle and a Mercedes-Benz sedan — are designed to achieve a sinister political purpose.
“It is all about the 2023 elections and number one’s (Mnangagwa) political strategy to hold onto power and push back any attempts at bhora musango (internal sabotage) by disgruntled MPs who have for long complained about poor conditions of service,” said a Zanu PF legislator.
“There were fears in number one’s mind that the Zanu PF MPs with influence from the Chiwenga camp would campaign just for themselves and encourage protest votes for him. The Chiwenga faction wanted to pursue this line by convincing the MPs that there was no point in supporting a leader who only cares for himself and his children who are into various corrupt deals than them at Parliament and cabinet.
“This becomes clearer if you look at the timing of the so-called loans which are coming barely a month after the party congress which further widened fissures when Chiwenga was totally shut out, leaving out his supporters seething with anger. So it is in two ways, to avoid the bhora musango by appeasing the MPs and again winning over Chiwenga supporters themselves and those sitting on the fence by projecting number one as caring for them than their factional leader (Chiwenga),” said a source.
In October this year, the disgruntled Zanu PF members of Parliament met Mnangagwa and Chiwenga at State House, where they complained bitterly about their incapacitation due to erratic payment of salaries, allowances and the non-provision of fuel.
The MPs said the challenges they were facing were hindering their work and hampering visibility in their constituencies.
The legislators also complained bitterly over Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s perceived hostility towards them.
Parliamentary sources made it clear to The NewsHawks at that time that Mnangagwa and his deputy were told that the visit was not a form of revolt but to tell them that they were incapacitated and financially paralysed, such that they could not effectively work for the President in their constituencies.
The MPs brought to the attention of Mnangagwa and his deputy that their car loans had been unilaterally reduced from US$80 000 to US$50 000 by Ncube.
The legislators also said they wanted assistance in acquiring houses or stands, given that ministers and deputy ministers had such privileges.
In addition, they complained about the government’s failure to provide accomodation to legislators coming from outside Harare, making it difficult for them to attend to parliamentary business such as debates and participation in Monday committee meetings.
They said the development was worrying ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“So, these loans are a result of that meeting. CCC legislators benefitted of course, but in the greater scheme of things, they do not matter,” said a Zanu PF legislator.
Pupurai Togarepi, the Zanu PF chief whip in Parliament, denied that there were fears of internal sabotage targeting Mnangagwa by Zanu PF MPs.
“Zanu PF MPs are solid behind President ED Mnangagwa. MPs are ware that they are deployed by the party from a pool of thousands of aspiring members,” he said.
Togarepi, who is the former Zanu PF secretary for youth, also said the party had settled on Mnangagwa being its 2023 presidential candidate and all structures were undivided in their support for him with no chances of sabotage from current MPs.
“Zanu PF is driven by its membership, not by MPs. Congress has elected President ED Mnangagwa as its candidate for 2023 and anyone who wants to come back to Parliament should rally behind the chosen one otherwise the masses will dump them. It’s naivety for someone to think Zanu PF would bribe a few individuals (Zanu PF MPs) especially at the end of the term. All our MPs are cadres and are loyal to the President and the party,” he said.