Harare – Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa "will not be pressured to quit" his positions in both government and Zanu-PF, despite attacks against him from a factional group within the ruling Zanu-PF party, family sources have reportedly said.
One of the sources, according NewsDay, said that quitting was not an option for the deputy president, instead his team would begin a series of public pronouncements to rebut all the allegations, which have been made against him.
Two distinct camps have emerged in the revolutionary party as the factions seek to outwit each other in the race to succeed the 93 year-old leader. Mnangagwa was allegedly leading a faction that was angling to succeed Mugabe calling itself "Team Lacoste" while another grouping made up of young Turks, commonly known as Generation 40 and backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her ageing husband, wanted to torpedo Mnangagwa's presidential ambitions.
Although both Mnangagwa and the First Lady have publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions, the ructions in the revolutionary party had now become synonymous in Zanu-PF politics.
'Why are you remaining quiet?'
The source said that Mnangagwa would continue to serve under President Mugabe.
"What you are going to see after the United Nations summit is Mnangagwa responding to all the allegations that have been made against him and setting the record straight. He is not worried because all the allegations so far raised against his person are false and of no substance," the unnamed source was quoted saying.
Mugabe and his wife Grace launched a scathing attack on Mnangagwa, accusing him of fanning factionalism within the Zanu-PF party.
First to fire the salvo on Mnangagwa in front of thousands of party supporters who gathered at Chipadze Stadium for the 8th Presidential Youth Interface rally was the First Lady, who challenged the deputy president to rein in his supporters whom she accused of insulting the presidency in their quest to succeed her husband.
Grace told the ruling party supporters that "Mnangagwa is the leader of Team Lacoste; why are you remaining quiet when your people are insulting the presidency? Some youths are being expelled from the party for indiscipline and you are being seen together at your house drinking tea and beer with them and that is not right. We get angry when we see such things," an angry Grace was quoted as saying.
'I am the boss'
Following Grace’s remarks, President Mugabe took to the stage and belittled his deputy, saying the long-time ally was among people who were plotting to oust in the early 2000s.
He said that Mnangagwa was at the time working closely with higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo when they made the plans in Tsholotsho.
"I really do not know what happened along the way that Moyo decided to abandon the project. We now hear that he is against Mnangagwa. If you ask Mnangagwa he will tell you that he was not there. He is a qualified lawyer; he is clever and he knows how to defend himself," said Mugabe.
Mnangagwa himself torched a storm recently when he appeared in pictures on social media holding a coffee mug inscribed "I am the boss". He was in the company of controversial businessman Energy Mutodi who was recently expelled from Zanu-PF party for causing alarm and despondency when he insinuated that Mnangagwa was poisoned at a recent rally held in Gwanda.