PREPARATIONS for President Robert Mugabe’s rally tomorrow in Masvingo are reportedly on the rails after it emerged that Zanu PF’s two factions — G40 and Team Lacoste — were yesterday still fighting for control of the event.
Zanu PF factions yesterday squared off over control of proceedings of Mugabe’s youth interface rally, as the succession issue in the party intensifies in the 93-year-old’s twilight years.
Masvingo is regarded as a stronghold of the Team Lacoste faction, sympathetic to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Party officials aligned to Mnangagwa were alleged to be fighting to take over control of the event from Zanu PF youth leader, Kudzanai Chipanga, a reported G40 member.
The power struggles played out in public at a preparatory meeting held at Masvingo Civic Centre Hall yesterday.
First to fire a salvo at Chipanga was Psychomotor minister Josiah Hungwe, a staunch Mnangagwa supporter, who told the youth league boss to “talk less and leave more time for the President”.
“I want to say this to you Chipanga. The President should get the most time for speaking at the function,” he said.
“He (Mugabe) is the one that we would have come for. Let him get time to speak everything that he wants, not to limit him after taking much time. When he finishes, we know the programme has come to an end, and we go and eat.”
When given the podium, Chipanga gave as much as he got, telling the old guard that their role was to give guidance and advice and had no right to “dictate” to the youth on how they should manage the event.
“As youth, we cannot teach the elders much because they have welcomed the President several times before us,” he said.
“You are now guiding us, as the youth, so that we will be able to do it alone when you are no longer there. It is a given that people will die and we will also die and leave our juniors.
“We thank you for the guidance. We do not expect you to lead us at our events, just give us advice and guidance. We have not seen the elders dictating, but guiding us, and we want to thank you for that.”
Chipanga also warned the old guard to also leave most of the talking to the President.
“Even among the elders, we need to master time . . . most of the time should be given to the President and Amai (First Lady Grace Mugabe),” he said.
The youth league boss admitted that some party politicians diverted.
T-shirts and other campaign material, saying they were giving the election paraphernalia directly to the youths from a lorry that would be coming from Harare.
“T-shirts are not being given to politicians to distribute. If we give one politician who intends to be a councillor, he will put aside two sacks for campaigning. The next politician will also take one sack from the total figure and a few will reach the people.
“A lorry will come with the T-shirts from Harare and distribute them directly at the venue on a first come, first serve basis.
“We did it in Mutare, Cde Hungwe, and it worked,” Chipanga said in another potshot directed at the Chivi-Mwenezi Senator.
“The President will have a photoshoot with the provincial youth league members. We should give them a chance because they rarely get it. Why are old people not clapping? Are you jealous? Let the children get their chance.”