INTENSE inter-factional fights to control President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province Midlands, pitting two rival groups backing State Security minister Owen Mudha Ncube and the incumbent chairperson Daniel Mackenzie Ncube have reached fever pitch.
The two groups are both declaring their undying loyalty to Mnangagwa.
Mackenzie Ncube is feeling the heat and on Monday released a statement slamming factionalism in the province.
“As we are going into the provincial elections, we need a steady hand to guide the province. A leader who is not associated with violence or criminal activities, a leader who is peace loving and a leader who is a unifier. Yes, we need a leader for the province who is loyal only to the President, not to any other individual. For those who are sowing seeds of division and disunity, be warned. Your days in Zanu PF are numbered,” Mackenzie Ncube said in a statement.
The statement was seen as a veiled attack on Mudha Ncube, who is nicknamed the “Touchbomber,” and has been accused of shielding a grouping of Zanu PF thugs in the Midlands, Al-Shabaab, which has been accused of terrorising opposition supporters and controlling vast gold mining pits in the province.
Mudha Ncube has the backing of Local Government minister July Moyo, while Mackenzie has an equally powerful ally in Joram Gumbo, a minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring Implementation of Government Programmes.
Traditionally, Moyo and Gumbo have been fighting for political godfather status in their native Mberengwa, but their fights have now spilled over to the wider province.
Before the eruption of fights between the Gumbo and Moyo camps, there was a long-running battle for superiority between Rugare Gumbo, the only surviving member if Zanu’s Dare ReChimurenga liberation war council, and Mnangagwa who is now President. Rugare Gumbo, who was a vital cog in the Joice Mujuru faction, was, however, expelled from Zanu PF in 2014, ahead of the party’s last elective congress.
The intra-factional fights in the Midlands have also seen Mnangagwa spokesperson George Charamba positing on his Twitter handle @jamwanda2 his support for Mudha Ncube. Charamba tweeted, “Mbudhlo Ndizvo”. Mbudhlo is yet another of Mudha Ncube’s nicknames.
The fights have even spilled to the district levels.
This week, factional fights in Kwekwe saw a district coodinating committee meeting at the Zanu PF district offices being abandoned after rival groups clashed. Police officers were called in to quell the violence.
In Kwekwe, the perennial fights are over the Kwekwe Parliamentary seat which was left vacant following the death of MP Masango Matambanadzo last year.
Two rival groups, one belonging to local gold magnate Kandross Mugabe, who is Mackenzie Ncube’s ally and a losing 2018 parliamentary candidate, and Energy Ncube, nephew of State Security minister Mudha Ncube.
The fights are also playing out on social media with several WhatsApp groups being formed, including “Midlands Youths”, “Endorsement of Mudha”, and “Zanu PF Gweru Urban”.
Disinformation on social media has been rife.
Despite Zanu PF this week indefinitely suspending the provincial elections, members have continued using social media platforms to campaign for the two.
As part of the propaganda campaign, Mckenzie Ncube is being accused of receiving money from exiled G40 members to “further their interests” ahead of the provincial elections and the 2023 general elections.
Mckenzie Ncube, however, denies the allegations.
He is also being accused of failing to unify the province.
But those opposed to Mudha Ncube have also pointed to an alleged “gravy train follower”.
They claimed that at one point Mudha Ncube called himself Mudha Mugabe (after the late former president Robert Mugabe), an indication that he opportunistically backs whoever is in power. Mudha Ncube later became Mnangagwa’s enforcer.
In their writings, Mckenzie Ncube’s supporters said that during the G40 and Lacoste factional fights, Mudha Ncube “was never arrested”, while McKenzie Ncube faced a “torrid time” during the Mugabe era.
They alleged that July Moyo, believed to be Mudha’s ally, is the “mastermind” of political upheavals in the province.
When asked if he was campaigning for the position by The NewsHawks last week, Mudha Ncube said “no”, although party members loyal to him have launched a non-stop campaign for the State Security minister.
Mackenzie Ncube, in his statement, called for unity of purpose in the province.
“As Midlands province cdes we have to be a shining light to all the provinces. This it the province where the President is coming from, this is the province which produced a President for the 2nd Republic. We are not only endowed with mineral resources as a province but we are also blessed to have the country’s leader,” he said.
He said Zanu-PF supporters must focus on having Mnangagwa retain the presidency.
“Our focus is on 2023 — which is the undisputed win for President Mnangagwa,” he said before emphasising that Zanu-PF supporters could only back Mnangagwa’s vision by being united.
“The positive developmental fruits of the new despensation are there for all to see under the able leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. We are indeed on course to achieve Vision 2030.We can only achieve that vision by mobilising and ensuring that His Excellency Cde Mnangagwa secures a landslide in the coming polls. For every Zanu PF cadre, focus must be on ensuring that the President is handed a landslide victory,” he said.
He said the bigger picture is on securing Mnangagwa’s victory.
“As we are faced with our internal elections, we mustn’t lose sight of the bigger picture. In a few weeks’ time we are going to have our internal polls for provincial leaders. Those are the leaders who are going to work in ensuring that the President achieves his vision. Elections are usually characterised by high emotions and tempers, however, we have to know that what unites us is much more than what divides us. What unites us, is us being Zanu PF. The Zanu PF culture emphasises unity more than individualism,” he said.
He reiterated on his call for unity of purpose in the province.
“As a provincial leader my emphasis has been and will be cohesion, unity, loyalty peace and development. We are our brothers’ keepers in Zanu PF, united we stand divided we fall. We are Zimbabweans first, as a provincial leader I have maintained and I still maintain and I will maintain that no to tribalism — this is the Midlands.” — Staff Writer.