by Staff Reporter
To the rest of the world lacoste is a French clothing and fragrance company whose crocodile logo originated with a dead alligator, In Zimbabwe the brand has however been dragged into politics. Team lacoste refers to a Zanu Pf cabal of politicians believed to have been formed around 2015 rooting for ousted former Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa to take over the reins of power as Zimbabwe’s President.
How Mnangagwa landed himself with the lacoste brand to his faction is attributed to his involvement with the crocodile gang during Zimbabwe’s Liberation war. The crocodile symbol known as ngwena in shona is said to be Mnangagwa’s nickname.
While his totem is shumba the ngwenya nickname was given to him as a youthful activist during the revolution where he says the use of real names and totems was discouraged as a way of limiting personal relations. Ngwena came about when he was appointed Commander of the crocodile gangduring the war of liberation.
While giving an interview to state newspaper The Herald a few months back, Mnangagwa had this to say about his totem…
“You know the trait of a crocodile, don’t you? It never hunts outside water. It always goes into the water to catch its prey. It never goes in the villages or in the bush looking for food. It strikes at the appropriate time. So a good guerrilla leader strikes at the appropriate time. That’s the import of the nicknames we give each other”, he said.
Team lacoste was also working to frustrate the efforts of rival cabal team G40 believed to be rooting behind the first lady Grace Mugabe.
Ironically both Mnangagwa and Mugabe are referred to as crocodiles as the latter’s totem Gushungo also refers to the reptile however Mnangagwa trended with the name with popular songs being ‘remixed’ to refer to him with the recent edited version of popular song ‘Kutonga kwaro Gamba’ to ‘Kutonga kwaro Garwe’ (reign of the crocodile).
Team Lacoste organised a crunch rally following the alleged poisoning of their leader earlier this year in a spirited attempt to stand in solidarity with Mnangagwa. The fate of members aligned to the lacoste brand had in the past few days been hanging in the air with threats to uproot Mnangagwa allies from governance positions following his ouster; however with the latest developments taking into account the involvement of the army this occurrence is now questionable.