Tensions between the president and his deputy reportedly took a nasty turn during a politburo meeting last week as President Mnangagwa accused Vice President Chiwenga of trying to topple him from power using the 31 July protests, sources privy to the development told Bloomberg.
According to the publication, the president shouted at his deputy and said he wanted to embarrass him, but Chiwenga reportedly denied the allegations, according to the 2 people who spoke to the publication.
According to Bloomberg:
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At a meeting of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s politburo last week, Mnangagwa shouted at Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, according to two people familiar with the situation. They asked not to be identified because the quarrel hasn’t been publicly disclosed.
The president accused his deputy of instigating a plan to use an opposition protest on July 31 over the deteriorating economic situation to embarrass the national leader, the people said. Some party members would have been encouraged to demonstrate alongside the opposition, but focus their criticism on Mnangagwa to weaken his standing within the ruling party, the people said.
Chiwenga denied any plot against the president, saying he’d endorsed Mnangagwa as president for Zimbabwe’s 2023 elections, the people said. He said he had protected Mnangagwa against enemies within the party who have now fled the country.
It is still not clear how the protests were going to be used to topple the president, however the government responded to the planned protests by threatening civilians, arresting, beating and torturing the organisers, would be protestors, and protestors and people responded by staying at home and not going out to protests.