FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday confirmed what has been in the public domain for the past decade that she was instrumental in the 2004 campaign which led to the elevation of Vice-President Joice Mujuru to her current position.
Grace made the confession while addressing war veterans at her Mazowe farm ironically in Mujuru’s home province of Mashonaland Central yesterday where she also publicly stated for the first time her ambitions to become president while demanding Mujuru must resign.
Back in 2004, Grace together with her current close ally Oppah Muchinguri, campaigned for Mujuru to become vice-president at a time her rival justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa was trailblazing his way to the position.
The Mujuru faction, then led by Joice’s late husband Solomon, held a meeting in Beatrice at the end of August 2004 where the late Nathan Shamuyarira proposed to push for the nomination of a woman candidate as the best way of blocking Mnangagwa’s imminent ascendancy.
This, according to Shamuyarira, would also serve the additional purpose of elevating a vice-president who would not “overshadow President Robert Mugabe in both stature and capacity”.
Mugabe and his wife Grace were roped in and used their speeches at the Women’s League conference on September 2 2004 to tell the party and the nation that the vacant post for a vice-president and second secretary previously held by the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda should be reserved for a woman.
But now Grace has changed tack and desperately wants Mujuru out immediately.
She has been working with key Mnangagwa allies in the plot to oust her.
Some of the Mnangagwa allies, including Jonathan Moyo, Muchinguri, Saviour Kasukuwere, Supa Mandiwanzira and Patrick Zhuwao, have been ever-present features at her recently concluded rallies dubbed “Meet-the-People-Tours”, where Mujuru and her supporters have been subjected to vitriolic public attacks.
Grace also made another about-turn yesterday, urging party members to respect Mnangagwa for being magnanimous enough to let Mujuru take the post of vice-president despite the fact that at the time he enjoyed the overwhelming support of eight out of 10 provinces.
However, she also suggested she also wants to be president, raising questions as to the exact nature of the arrangement she has with the Mnangagwa camp over the succession issue.
“Hanzi ini ndirikuda kuita president, why not, handisi mwana wem uZimbabwe here (They say I want to be president, why not, am I not a Zimbabwean)?” Grace said.