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Zimbabwean ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies in both the ruling Zanu-PF party and government have reportedly dumped his camp “to save their political skin after President Robert Mugabe last week gave the greenlight for the massive purge”.

Reports last week said that several Zanu-PF top officials from Manicaland who supported Mnangagwa could be booted out after the Provincial Co-ordination Committee (PCC) recommended their expulsion.

The PCC chaired by Energy Minister Samuel Undenge, recommended that Mnangagwa’s allies be dealt with “with immediate effect”.

The senior Zanu-PF officials who were likely to be booted out were; “ex-Zanu-PF women’s league boss and Water Affairs Minister Oppah Machinguri, former finance minister and now Cyber Security Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Deputy Minister for Postal and telecommunication Win Mlambo as well as former information minister Chris Mushowe”.

According to NewsDay, Chinamasa, who doubled as minister of cyber security and chairperson of the Zanu-PF’s national disciplinary committee refused to comment after it emerged that he was also on the firing line.

Sharply divided

Many of the party officials who were shortlisted for disciplinary action for supporting the former vice president were reportedly said to have since approached the rival Generation 40 group to plead for forgiveness.

“You will be surprised to see how people are making frantic efforts to cleanse themselves. They are desperate to disassociate themselves with Mnangagwa. We are talking of people who have known no other political home except Zanu-PF. They are knocking at every door to pledge loyalty to Mugabe. Some have started denouncing Mnangagwa openly…,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party was sharply divided into two distinct factions battling to outwit each other in the race to succeed him.

One camp calling itself “Team Lacoste” was reportedly led by the ex-vice president while another faction made up of young Turks was said to be led by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Mnangagwa was kicked out of both government and the ruling party last week following accusations that he was plotting to topple Mugabe from power.

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