'Top ruling Zanu-PF party official quits to lead pro-Mugabe splinter group': reports

2018-03-06 06:01
Robert Mugabe (File: AP)

Robert Mugabe (File: AP)

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Harare - A new party linked to loyalists of former president Robert Mugabe is likely to be led by a top Zanu-PF official who quit last week, reports from Zimbabwe say.

Former cabinet minister and member of parliament Ambrose Mutinhiri quit the ruling Zanu-PF party last week citing his objection to the "military coup" that removed Mugabe from power in November.

He is the first big name to leave Zanu-PF since the military takeover that replaced Mugabe with Emmerson Mnangagwa.

"It is a matter of profound national concern to me that, subsequent to the military coup, Zanu-PF as well as government and state institutions have been captured by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces," Mutinhiri said in his resignation letter. 

See Mutinhiri's resignation letter below. 

Mutinhiri said that the turning of guns on Mugabe was "by extension, the turning of guns and military tanks on the millions who voted President Mugabe into power".

Meeting at Mugabe mansion

The private Standard newspaper quoted sources as saying Mutinhiri, a veteran of the 1970s independence war, was "likely to be unveiled as the leader of the Zanu-PF splinter party known as the New Patriotic Front (NPF)".

The state-run Herald said on Monday that Mutinhiri met Mugabe and his wife at their Blue Roof mansion in Harare last week where Mutinhiri was "anointed" as the NPF leader.

"The fact that he (Mutinhiri) was invited to the Blue Roof meant obviously that the former president and his wife are part and parcel of the New Patriotic Front," an unnamed government source told the paper. 

The Mugabe's mansion had now become "a cell to launch opposition politics", the source added.

The Herald said the Mugabes and Mutinhiri had the backing of key members of the ruling party’s former G40 faction loyal to Grace Mugabe, such as exiled ex-cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo.

Threat to Mnangagwa

Writing on Twitter at the weekend Moyo complimented Mutinhiri on his "bold leadership step". He referred to the military takeover as a coup that "must be cured, reversed & permanently destroyed!"

Analysts say if there are other disgruntled members like Mutinhiri still in Zanu-PF it could pose a threat to Mnangagwa’s presidential election bid. 

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  grace mugabe  |  ambrose mutinhiri  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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