PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace yesterday all but declared war on Vice-President Joice Mujuru and warned she is gone as she went on the rampage viciously attacking the most senior Zanu PF official after Mugabe and her allies, while issuing a chilling threat she will be “baby-dumped” at the party’s watershed December congress.
Report by Owen Gagare
Taking off gloves and almost running riot, Grace, using innuendo and thinly-veiled insinuations which informed and discerning people could tell were targeted at Mujuru, also suggested the Vice-President is corrupt, an extortionist who owns 10% equities in many companies and has a diamond mine.
Seemingly complaining about her family and business interests, which Mujuru is apparently endangering, Grace further insinuated the Vice-President is a divisive figure who should be thrown onto the streets to be devoured by vultures.
Grace also practically announced Mujuru would be removed in December.
As reported by the Zimbabwe Independent repeatedly of late, Mugabe has reportedly lost confidence in Mujuru and her senior faction allies like Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, and wants to purge them from the party, suggesting there will be blood on the floor at congress.
The Emmerson Mnangagwa faction, now fronted by Grace as she has now apparently become the blunt instrument with which to bludgeon Mujuru, is going for broke and has several plans on the table — including forcing a secret ballot or appointment of top officials, including vice-presidents, even if the constitution does not allow it — on how to oust the veteran nationalist who was the wife of liberation war hero, the late retired General Solomon Mujuru who died in a mysterious firestorm in 2011.
The late Mujuru helped Mugabe come to power during the struggle years.
To rub it in, Grace’s closet ally, outgoing Zanu PF Women’s League boss, Oppah Muchinguri, has suggested through a smear campaign Mujuru scorched her husband to death.
Signifying she was now in control of the party, Grace yesterday warned if Mugabe does not remove Mujuru, she was going to see to it personally she was toppled.
“If you can hear this, you faction leader (Mujuru), approach Mugabe and ask for forgiveness,” she thundered at Chipadze Stadium in Bindura at the heart of Mujuru’s Mashonaland Central stronghold. “If the President does not dump you, we are personally going to dump you.”
She concluded her address demanding Mujuru should apologise while asking the crowd if they really want her forgiven.
“Do you want her forgiven? Maybe she will be forgiven, perhaps, and then she can be subjected to party re-orientation. I hope this will be the end of factionalism.”
While Grace has hitherto been attacking Mujuru through inferences at most of her charged rallies, except in Harare, she came close to mentioning her by name in Gwanda on Monday before yesterday’s riotous remarks lashing out at her.
Although Information minister Jonathan Moyo sprung to her defence after the Gwanda rally, claiming Grace was not referring to Mujuru, even though it was obvious to everybody, it has now become abundantly clear beyond reasonable doubt she is targeting her.
“The moment of truth for factionalism will soon come. Baba (Mugabe) is fed up with this issue. Time will soon come when we will name and shame the person we are referring to as ‘Gamatox’,” she said. “I am told the demon of factionalism started in this province, but the moment of truth shall come and you (Mujuru’s supporters) will be in trouble.
“The youths have alerted me about someone who is spearheading factionalism in this province and I told Mugabe to ‘baby-dump’ that person and I told him that if he does not, we will!”
Mujuru hails from Mount Darwin in Mashonaland Central and is the senator for Mt Darwin West. She is also the leader of one of the main Zanu PF factions battling to produce Mugabe’s successor.
Firing from the hip, Grace also said Mujuru’s was denouncing her Mazowe projects and had directed youth leaders from Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East not to attend her rallies, before warning she would deal with the youth leaders who snubbed her rally.
Grace said faction leaders were “mature women for that matter” who should be spearheading the implementation of ZimAsset economic blueprint, instead of promoting divisions.
“Do you think your faction leader will come in and be in charge? Let’s unite because you will be left alone,” she said.
She insinuated Mujuru was corrupt and was going around extorting money and shares from companies, while she was also involved in diamonds.
While Grace has been on the offensive, consistently attacking the Mujuru faction, she was sparring Mnangagwa’s. At the rallies, Grace has been obsessed with with the Vice-President’s position which her allies say she is eyeing.
She has also touched on the fight for the second vice-president’s position, denouncing former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa Phelekezela Mphoko, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, politburo member and former senate president Naison Ndlovu, retired Brigadier-General and Zipra commander Ambrose Mutinhiri and Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo for stampeding for the position.
However, this has angered some senior party officials who say she has thrown Zanu PF into turmoil.
“Her attack on Mujuru is something we have never seen before and a declaration of war. We have never heard her or the President even attacking (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai like that. She has gone too far,” said a Zanu PF official from Mashonaland Central.
“She also made it clear that she was targeting Mujuru and said she would take matters into her own hands if the President does not ‘baby-dump’ her. We are wondering where she is getting that power from. Is she saying she is now in charge of the party and country and can now do as she pleases?”
In every province, Grace has attacked the local leadership aligned to Mujuru, while leaving Mnangagwa’s allies safe.
Senior members of the Mnangagwa faction confirmed this week Mugabe has given them the blank cheque to remove Mujuru. Insiders say their initial plan was to field a strong candidate against Mujuru through the normal nomination process, although the strategy was deemed too risky given her popularity in party structures.
But the faction, according to insiders, is also weighing the option of using the secret ballot at congress to elect leaders, which option seems to be favoured by Mnangagwa amid rigging fears.
The third option — which appears the safest — is to push for amendment to the party constitution to enable Mugabe to appoint senior officials, including vice-presidents so that he can appoint his wife and leave out Mujuru.
However, the trouble is that the secret ballot and appointments of officials outside elections need constitutional amendments. Section 32(1) of the Zanu PF constitution provides that the presidium “shall be elected by congress directly upon nomination by at least six provincial co-ordinating committees of the party, meeting separately in special session called for that purpose”.
If any of the candidates fails to get six nominations “the candidates having the highest nomination votes shall be referred to the provincial co-ordinating committees for fresh nomination. This process shall be repeated until it yields a candidate who commands the nomination by at least six provincial co-ordinating committees. The candidate who, through this process attains the nomination by at least six provincial co-ordinating committees, shall stand nominated for election directly by congress”.