ONE of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s key funders and ally, Jimaya Muduvuri, caused a stir in Masvingo after addressing the provincial executive committee (Pec) on Independence Day claiming he was sent by the First Family to unite warring factions in Zanu PF.
Zanu PF is torn between two factions pitting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the Generation 40 (G40) faction, which has coalesced around Grace.
However, other G40 proponents dismissed Muduvuri, a Zanu PF central committee member from Mashonaland West, as an attention-seeker who is abusing the First Family’s name for his personal benefit like many others these days.
Muduvuri is a close Grace ally who in July last year invited the First Lady to launch his multi-million-dollar housing project in Kadoma.
Grace addressed thousands of supporters at a ground-breaking ceremony and commissioned earthmoving equipment at Macsherp Holdings owned by Muduvuri. The Macsherp Holdings housing project is set to construct hundreds of low-income houses in Kadoma.
Zanu PF sources from Masvingo said Muduvuri met the Pec after the Independence Day celebrations at the Benjamin Burombo board room, which is at the complex housing the Masvingo Provincial Affairs ministry’s offices.
“We were told that we had a meeting with a delegation from Harare led by Muduvuri,” the source said.
“Muduvuri, who was accompanied by Pupurai Togarepi (who was recently slapped with a vote-of-no-confidence by the Youth League), then addressed us saying he had been sent by the First Family to tell the Masvingo executive it was time Zanu PF factions bury the hatchet.
“He told us that the First Family, through him, wanted to make sure warring factions in Zanu PF are united. He also said he had met with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and confronted him about his involvement in factionalism. He said the VP distanced himself saying he does not lead any faction.
“This was before meeting the First Family who gave him the mandate. Muduvuri said he would visit the country’s 10 provinces with the same message after asking the provincial leadership if they were still behind Mugabe’s leadership.”
Provincial executive members who attended the meeting said Togarepi was “taking down minutes during the meeting”.
Mnangagwa’s backers in Masvingo took Muduvuri’s message as a sign that Grace was feeling the pressure following spirited resistance to G40 manoeuvres by war veterans and the military in recent weeks.
Some excited members of the faction also felt that Grace may be ready to abandon the G40 faction, following the resistance.
Of late the Mnangagwa camp has managed to halt the suspensions of its members while Mugabe has agreed that the cases of people who were expelled from the party without going for disciplinary hearings should be heard by the central committee.
Muduviri was not picking up his mobile phone yesterday. He did not respond to questions sent on his phone.
Togarepi said he has no mandate to comment on party issues in the media.
“Zanu PF speaks through the party spokesperson. We do not just comment on issues that concern the party in the media,” said Togarepi.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa, who attended the meeting, declined to comment.
“I don’t want to speak about that matter,” she said.
Zanu PF secretary for the commissariat Saviour Kasukuwere, who should have ordinarily organised the meeting, suggested that Muduvuri acted on his own accord. He said the commissariat department had nothing to do with the meeting.
“Ask the person who called the meeting. I don’t want to be involved in that issue,” he said. “Since when did the First Family send a central committee member to deal with party issues?”
Some G40 members who confirmed that Muduvuri addressed the meeting said the businessman wanted to curry favour with the First Family, but his plan had backfired.
“They are in trouble because they are misrepresenting the First Family. Togarepi never has and will never speak on behalf of the First Lady, that’s why I am saying ndezve musoro mavo (it was their own idea). Ever since we fired Togarepi from the Youth League, he hasn’t met Amai (Grace), so what is he smoking,” said a G40 member.
“It is puzzling why Muduvuri called the meeting because he is a central committee member from Mashonaland West. I think it’s more of the two trying to be relevant by abusing the First Family’s name.”