Addressing Zanu-PF structures in Harare last week, the straight-talking Matemadanda – who is also Deputy Defence minister and secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) – also demanded warring party officials to show loyalty to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He warned that the ongoing infighting in Zanu-PF would have serious consequences for the former liberation movement – adding that it was in no one’s interest for the ruling party to return to the anarchy that was witnessed in the last few years in power of the late former president Robert Mugabe, when factionalism, tribalism and succession wars split it through the middle.
This comes as there are widening fissures in the party, which recently jettisoned two politburo members – Cleveria Chizema and Tendai Savanhu – for allegedly showing disloyalty to the party and its leadership.
“There is this habit among party members of labelling each other G40 (a vanquished faction of the party) for example. People are not putting maximum effort to their party work due to this.
“We must know that Mugabe was our leader … for nearly 40 years. All of us wanted to be close even to (Mugabe’s wife) Grace.
“We must forget about the past and start new things so that our party can continue to grow. You must not make unnecessary accusations against each other,” Matemadanda said.
“I want to warn you … this must stop for the good of our party. The MDC is dead and we can’t lose elections to a dead party. But as long as we remain divided we will not go anywhere.
“We are witnessing tribal wars but we can’t run the party through tribal lines,” he added ruefully.
“We respected (the late vice president Joshua) Nkomo as our leader. People from Plumtree up to Mutoko sang songs praising Nkomo.
“Our relationship should not be premised on tribalism and regionalism. Some are saying let us wait and see whether we are going to support a certain leader or not.
“That’s what you are doing here in Harare … this habit has grown in Harare. It is now like a huge tree and you are saying we are tribal specialists.
“This is not good for the party and it must stop,” Matemadanda warned.
This comes as Mnangagwa – who ascended to power via a popular military coup – has come under growing pressure from long-suffering Zimbabweans over his government’s failure to mend the country’s broken economy.
It also comes as more and more Zanu-PF bigwigs are bemoaning the resurgence of the party’s factional, tribal and succession demons – which devastated the former liberation movement during Mugabe’s last few years in power.
Then, Mnangagwa was involved in a hammer and tongs war with the party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction – which had coalesced around the nonagenarian’s erratic wife Grace.
The vicious brawling took a nasty turn when Mnangagwa was allegedly poisoned by his rivals during one of Mugabe’s highly-divisive youth interface rallies in Gwanda in 2017.
The then VP’s fate was eventually sealed on November 6, 2017 when Mugabe fired his long-time lieutenant a few days after his allies had booed the irascible Grace during a tense rally at White City Stadium in Bulawayo.
However, tables were dramatically turned on Mugabe when the military rolled in their tanks on November 15 of that year and deposed the long-ruling leader from power – which saw a number of alleged G40 kingpins fleeing into self-imposed exile soon afterwards.
But despite Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to power, some ambitious bigwigs in the former liberation movement continue to stand accused of plotting to unseat the new Zanu-PF leader.