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Mugabe being abused says Margaret Dongo

By Fungi Kwaramba HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is being abused by the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction ahead of Zanu PF watershed congress, ou...

By Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is being abused by the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction ahead of Zanu PF watershed congress, outspoken ex-ruling party legislator Margaret Dongo said.

With a faction led by beleaguered vice president Joice Mujuru being purged, Dongo told the Daily News that the Mnangagwa faction has successfully manipulated Mugabe for its own political ends.

Accused of engaging in “illicit business dealings”, abuse of office, and facing increasing pressure to go, Mujuru was expected to fight back when the politburo met to fine-tune preparations for the December congress.

Ahead of the politburo meeting, Dongo told the Daily News that Mugabe is discarding loyalists who helped him controversially win last year’s harmonised elections.

“Emmerson is smart and more intelligent than Gushungo (Mugabe),” Dongo said.

“He has managed to play around with his mind. He is a schemer and one of the best strategists.”
Margaret Dongo
During an ill-tempered cross-country tour, involving 10 rallies, the First Lady Grace Mugabe repeatedly called for the 59-year-old vice president’s resignation and endorsed as a replacement the 76-year-old Justice minister Mnangagwa, one of the party’s hard men.

The current events echo the 2004 botched palace coup that sought to block Mujuru’s ascendancy to the vice presidency, when an attempt to discredit her backfired against the Mnangagwa faction and led to her ascendency to her current post.

Mnangagwa and his allies were accused of plotting a “coup” in what is now known as the Tsholotsho debacle.

In the aftermath of that episode, Mnangagwa was relegated to manage a backwater ministry for Social Amenities and Rural Housing.

He was, however, rewarded with a Defence ministerial post after the bloody 2008 poll, where he was Mugabe’s chief election agent and allegedly spearheaded the vanquished party’s brutal campaigns as de facto leader of the Joint Operations Command — a think-tank of top security commanders.

“Hanzi chinonyenga chinohwarara chinosumudza musoro chawana (He who courts a woman approaches cap in hand, and only shows their true colours after winning the suitor’s hand),” Dongo said.

“He knew it was not going to be long before he regained lost ground. Now Zanu PF is witnessing an unprecedented passing of votes of no confidence for persons that are aligned to the VP. This is a strategy that favours Mnangagwa.”

Jabulani Sibanda, the war veterans’ leader who Mugabe now wants ousted, vigorously campaigned for the 90-year-old Zanu PF leader ahead of the 2013 harmonised elections which he controversially won amid accusations of ballot fraud by the vanquished opposition.

“Gushungo cannot see that he is being used,” Dongo said.

“How can he allow the people who ensured that he wins elections last year to be treated like this?”

While Grace’s campaign has been marked by unrestrained attacks on Mujuru, the first lady has spared the rod on the Mnangagwa faction, even though she claims to be wholly against factionalism.

Although the country’s Constitution places Mujuru as front runner to succeed Mugabe, Mnangagwa has not only emerged as the octogenarian ruler and his wife’s choice, but other hard-line elements’ preferred successor.

Amid calls for an investigation into Mujuru’s alleged corruption scandals, Dongo said everyone in the ruling party, especially those in the top echelons, must be investigated.

“It is common that there is serious corruption in this country and what is coming out has some truth in it. This calls for a cleansing exercise for the whole leadership before congress so that we can have a corrupt-free leadership,” Dongo said, adding that no one in the ruling party is observing their socialist leadership code of conduct.

“If you ask them who has declared their assets to the public, none of them has. How many have been fired for corruption?” queried Dongo. Daily News
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