ZANU PF leaders aligned to a faction led by Vice President Joice Mujuru have upped the pressure on embattled information minister Jonathan Moyo following his public humiliation by President Robert Mugabe at the weekend.
Mugabe used the funeral of former Cabinet minister and Zanu PF politburo member Nathan Shamurarira to launch a withering attack against Moyo, describing him as the "devil incarnate" and a "weevil" destroying the party from within.
Adding to the pressure, Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa, who has openly said he backs Mujuru to replace the 90 year-old Mugabe, told party youths in Mutare that Moyo had to be expelled to end factionalism.
"You were talking about the issue of weevils here. Way back we used to treat weevils by spraying gamatox (pesticide) and they would all die," Mutasa said while addressing party youths on Sunday.
"Our weevils, if you know about them, which we are castigating now, please apply gamatox on them. If you do that we will be left with one camp and not to say there is this camp and that camp."
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo, another Mujuru ally, weighed in saying it was up to Mugabe whether or not Moyo would remain in Cabinet. His position in the party would be decided by "the people", Gumbo added.
"The party's highest decision making body discussed the issue and President Mugabe made his position clear at the funeral of the late Nathan Shamuyarira," Gumbo told a local weekly.
"I cannot talk about what the president will do as the head of state, but at party level the fate of the minister in question would be decided by the people."
Zanu PF is said to be torn between Mujuru's faction and a rival group backing Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa with which Moyo is associated.
Although Mugabe has cunningly refused to back either side, the veteran leader effectively read from the same script used by Mujuru when she shockingly railed against the anti-campaign campaign fronted by Moyo.
Under Moyo's charge, the State media has lifted the lid on the administrative rot and widespread corruption in parastatals where executives paid themselves massive salaries while presiding over largely comatose organisations.
The campaign started with the removal of ZBC chief executive, Happison Muchechetere, as well as the public broadcaster's board which was led by the shamed Cuthbert Dube.
Dube, who was also CEO at a government run health insurer, would later be exposed for earning close to half a million US dollars while the organisation failed to pay service providers resulting in member, most of them civil servants, paying cash for treatment.
However in remarks that were widely condemned, Mujuru - while addressing a Zanu (PF) Mashonaland West Provincial Women Conference in Chinhoyi - said the anti-corruption drive was part of campaign by Moyo to destroy Zanu PF from within.
"There are people who know the role parastatals play towards holding the country together, who would want to fight them and destroy our party and government in the process. From the ZBC they would go to other parastatals such as ZESA and ZINWA.
"These people cannot be Zanu (PF). They say if you cannot beat them join them and fight from within. So beware," she claimed.
Mugabe would repeat the same charge against Moyo while addressing mourners at Shamuyarira's funeral.
Editors appointed under Moyo's watch and responsible for helping expose the corruption were all activists of the opposition MDC-T party, Mugabe added.
Meanwhile, in an editorial Monday, the privately owned Newsday said Moyo was being victimised for fighting against corruption in the public sector.
"It is fact that Moyo is one of the few Zanu PF cadres capable of reading the national mood - a trait many in his party do not have," said the publication.
"Moyo unravelled rampant corruption in public institutions resulting in Mujuru alleging those exposing graft in Zanu PF wanted to destroy it from within.
"Could it be that Mugabe was just singing from the same Mujuru hymn book? Mugabe should have leant a lesson or two from that gloomy Mujuru chapter when she recanted.
"Instead of Mugabe to discuss the free-falling economy, unemployment, load shedding, company closures, water rationing, drug shortages - the list is endless - he chose to discuss how Moyo has reportedly been employing "MDC activists" at Zimpapers.
"It shows Mugabe is paranoid. He needs to be reminded that Zimbabwe belongs to all regardless of political affiliation, colour or creed. Otherwise, what then is the difference between him, South Africa apartheid leaders like John Vorster and colonial master Ian Smith?
"Mugabe has made anti-corruption pronouncements in the past and Zimbabweans have always known that he was not serious about fighting corruption. Who is he trying to hoodwink in this regard?