Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ‘Team Lacoste’ Zanu PF faction has suffered a body blow after their chief strategist Jonathan Moyo defected to the G 40 faction led by dictator Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe.
Moyo’s defection to the G40, labelled G Unit by intelligence officials after the violent American rap group, is an indication that all is not well in Mnangagwa’s camp, analysts said. Team Lacoste’s members include defence forces and air force commanders General Constantine Chiwenga and air marshal Perence Shiri, as well as Central Intelligence Organization boss Brigadier-General Happyton Bonyongwe and war veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa. The group has declared its intention to install Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s next president, shaking Grace Mugabe’s stated ambition to succeed her ailing 92 year-old husband to the core.
Moyo, a moderate war veteran who is the higher education minister and Zanu PF’s science secretary, is now the brains behind G 40. He is working alongside semi-retired intelligence officer Saviour ‘Tyson’ Kasukuwere, who is the muscle for the group, while Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao is its chief fundraiser and spokesperson.
Moyo was arm-twisted into joining Mugabe’s group after he was implicated in corruption scandals and Mugabe sacked him as the powerful information and broadcasting minister and chief government spokesman in mid-2015. He was reinstated in the less influential role of education minister on condition he abandoned Mnangagwa, which he did reluctantly, amid threats to his life. Another member of the vice president’s faction who rebelled, Makhosini Hlongwane is lucky to be alive after suspected Team Lacoste agents raided his hotel room in Harare. Finding him not there, they left a live bullet on his bed as a warning.
Mnangagwa (70) is angling to succeed his former school teacher Mugabe if he retires or nagging health problems force him to give up power. Already, the vice president has elbowed aside Joice Mujuru, whose western-backed presidential campaign is now being conducted from outside Zanu PF after she was expelled from both party and government.
Moyo becomes the second senior Ndebele to join Grace Mugabe after vice president Phelekezela Mphoko capitulated. Mphoko joined Mugabe’s camp after his liberation war credentials as a Zapu cadre were questioned by the party’s former intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa. Mphoko’s role as a CIO spy during the Gukurahundi army murders of Ndebeles has also been exposed, alienating him from his disgruntled tribesmen.
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