Grace resumes ‘meet the people’ tours

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FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe who is also Zanu PF Women’s League secretary has resumed her meet the people tours with a rally scheduled for Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central today.

Wongai Zhangazha

Grace is scheduled to hold a rally at Dambo Clinic in a move many see as a campaign for Generation 40 (G40) faction, which has vowed to derail Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.

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In 2014, she used similar campaigns to push out former Vice-president Joice Mujuru, who appeared a shoe-in to take the reins from President Robert Mugabe. Mujuru and her key allies were later expelled from the party for allegedly fanning factionalism and plotting to oust Mugabe.

According to a senior Zanu PF official who spoke to the Zimbabwe Independent, Grace upon arrival from China, on Monday, instructed the party structures to prepare a rally for her in Chiweshe.

“The message from Grace when she got back from China was that she wanted to go and meet the people. However, it is pretty obvious that she has a number of issues lined up that she wants to talk about.

“It is not clear yet what her agenda is, but the Women’s League is pushing for the return of the women’s quota system,” a source familiar with the developments said.

“Of course her message will be that there is need for unity, but she will certainly advance her cause.”

Contacted for comment yesterday, Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson Dickson Mafios said preparations for the rally were at an advanced stage.

“Mashonaland Central is ready to receive the First Lady,” said Mafios without giving more details.

The senior Zanu PF official also said, Grace was expected to hold another rally in Buhera after Chiweshe. Manicaland secretary for administration Kenneth Saruchera said they have not yet received official communication.

“It has not been officially communicated to us as a province, but we have had some people from Buhera asking us about Amai (Grace) visiting their constituency,” said Saruchera.

Another senior official said Grace was also behind the Zanu PF Women’s League gathering on Wednesday at the ruling party’s headquarters.

“The First Lady gave blessings to Wednesday’s Women’s League gathering. She was away and when she came back on Monday, she communicated with her allies who are mainly linked with the G40 factional group on the progress.

“There was no way Sarah Mahoka, who is her close ally could have planned this without her knowing,” said a senior Zanu PF official.

Grace, who is G40’s pillar of strength, last year went on a series of ‘Meet the People’ rallies nationwide, dishing out farming equipment acquired from a bilateral arrangement with Brazil.

During her rallies, she seemed to attack Mnangagwa, except for Midlands rally where she praised the vice-president describing him as a desciplined and experienced official from whom she had a lot to learn.

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