Cape Town – Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken a swipe at individuals within the ruling Zanu-PF party, whom he accused of seeking to cause tension between him and his boss, President Robert Mugabe, reports said on Thursday.
This came after Mnangagwa appeared in a picture on social media, in which he held a coffee mug inscribed "I am the boss".
See the picture below.
Mnangagwa appeared in the picture with controversial business man, Energy Mutodi.
Mnangwagwa, who was the acting president in the absence of Mugabe - currently on holiday in the Far East - was reportedly leading a Zanu-PF faction calling itself "Team Lacoste" which was angling to take over when Mugabe eventually leaves office. Another camp, made up of young Turks calling itself Generation 40 (G40), was backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her ageing husband.
The picture, apparently caused fury and controversy, with the Minister of Higher Education Jonathan Moyo, taking to Twitter to lambast the vice president.
"…Everybody knows that the Boss is Gushungo (Mugabe). One boss at a time, please! Kumhanya hakusikusvika veduwe (There is no need to rush)."
Moyo went further to link the mug to an article that appeared in a British magazine, The New Stateman, titled "The last days of Robert Mugabe".
Moyo tweeted: "Mug-saga can't hide link of photo & this article."
Not to be outdone, Mutodi, a staunch supporter of Mnangagwa, also took to his Facebook page, discrediting Mugabe and heaping praise on Mnangagwa.
Mutodi warned Mugabe that he risked isolating himself if he continued to protect the G40. He cited a case in which Moyo stood accused of siphoning close to half a million dollars of public funds from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef)
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the coffee mug was part of the numerous presents that Mnangagwa received for Christmas and he "took it to his rural home unopened".
"When the acting president and his family were opening the gifts around 22:00 at night, Mutodi – who masqueraded as an MP, arrived, uninvited, and began posing for pictures which he posted on social media where they were latched onto by Prof Moyo who feverishly began tweeting to give them a sinister interpretation," the report said.
'History of disloyalty'
In his statement, Mangagwa slammed "elements" within Zanu-PF, whom he said sought to "drive a wedge" between him and Mugabe.
"Against the background of many utterances and activities, all of them unsolicited but claiming or seeking association with my person, my family and or my position both in Zanu-PF and in government, I want to make it clear that there elements on the loose who talk and act as if they support me and or the party, Zanu-PF, when in fact they are being being handled and managed from elsewhere by hostile forces," Mungagwa said.
He continued: These elements are against the President, are against the party and its leadership. In other instances, they have a history of disloyalty to the president, which is well documented.
"It is preposterous to claim to support or act in the same name of the party, or of individuals in Zanu-PF while at the same time attacking President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, himself the undisputed leader of our party.
"Simply put, one cannot pretend to support the party while rejecting its president, attacking its core tenets, or undermining its tried and tested ways of conducting its business."