BULAWAYO - First Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday embarrassed Zanu PF’s Bulawayo provincial chairman, Callistus Ndlovu, when she scoffed at his claims that there was no factionalism in the province’s party structures.
Addressing hundreds of party supporters at Amazulu Stadium here, Grace dismissed as utterly false the claims made by Ndlovu.
“Here in Bulawayo, allow me to say we don't have factions,” Ndlovu said in his welcoming speech to the First Lady.
“All the people here work together. But since people are not like water which flows in one direction, there are instances where there are disagreements.
“We agree that people are allowed to have different views over issues but the big thing is Zanu PF is our surname. We never joined Zanu PF to fight but we did so to work together.”
In a response, Grace who talked up the unity love and peace brought about by the Unity Accord signed between PF Zapu and Zanu in 1987, scoffed at the chairman’s claims.
“Ndambobvunza kuti pane factionalism here zvikanzi hakuna. Inhema dzekupedzisira. Ndidzonhema dzisiri kudiwa nevanhu idzodzo. Nhema chaidzo (I asked if ever there is factionalism in the province and they said no. But those are utter lies loathed by the people),” she said .
Grace said the positioning and posturing for the second vice president’s post was factionalism in its own right.
“Please do not concentrate on dividing the people,” she said. “You will never make it here in Bulawayo.
“This is an urban area. We do understand all your problems. If your problems are not addressed, Zanu PF will not have much recognition here.
“Unity is the one that brought peace, the love that we are witnessing and living in harmony as we are but here in Bulawayo, Bulawayo Bulawayo, what is wrong with Bulawayo? KoBulawayo what is wrong?” she asked rhetorically.
Grace said during Zanu PF's rally in the city towards the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections, the Bulawayo leadership promised President Robert Mugabe that they were going to sweep all the seats, but to the contrary the party dismally lost all the seats.
“Takabva tichifara tichiti tichatora ma ‘seats’ ese but tikazoti toteerera ma results achiitwa announce tikati yowee, vatora maseats ese (We left here happy that we were going to win all the seats, but after the election results were announced, we discovered all the seats had been taken by the MDC). We were shocked but we are talking of unity of purpose,” she said.
She urged the entire Bulawayo leadership to be truthful and know what exactly they needed.
“When the Unity Accord was signed, it was all about uniting two parties, Zapu and Zanu,” she said. “It was agreed then that there was one united party. But what I am witnessing is that zvinhu zvirikuramba zvakawoma muno muBulawayo (the situation is still tough here).
“This is because that is where most of the leadership lives; the leadership that is not showing unity of purpose. You say we want unity and yet on the other hand you want to have Zapu.”
Grace said it was factionalism that has immensely contributed to the party losing elections in the second largest city.
“What I am seeing here is a leadership inongoti pangu pangu (self-centred leadership). If there was solidarity and unity of purpose, I was not going to see five names emerging in the newspapers vying for the vice presidency.”
She said lack of unity of purpose among the local leadership was the main reason why the city had perennial problems.
“So far here in Bulawayo there are problems. You (leadership) are the ones who create these problems. Hakuna kumboti chii? Vanhu zivai kuti ma problems anobva kumusoro kuno uku. Ndokwaanobva nokuti dai ma leaders akabatana vachitarisana nechinhu chimwe chete I don’t think we could be talking of shortage of water, potholes, madzimai arikutambudzika vachitorerwa misika namapurisa (The problems are emanating from the leadership, there is no unity of purpose otherwise there would be no shortages of water, there would be no potholes, women suffering, women losing their wares to cops).”
She warned that the day of reckoning would come. The event saw youth leaders, senior party members including Oppah Muchinguri and Grace again rehearsing the “pasi ne Gamatox” slogan.
However, while cheers came from the tent where youth leaders were seated each time the gamatox slogan was chanted, supporters could be seen perplexed about its meaning.
Meanwhile, Grace also praised her husband’s tolerance towards some inept Cabinet ministers whom she said were failing to execute their duties effectively.
She said the president was a tolerant individual.
“I know Baba Mugabe (I know the president well) and I live with him,” she said. “I personally know the president and I am one honest person and I stand by the truth.
“If that wasn't true I would not be here wasting my time but the president is very calm, he loves and respects the people.
“The people that I live with know that I am an honest person, ask them I don't lie.”
Grace said she was updated as to whom the best and worst performing ministers in the Cabinet were.
“I talk from an informed position and I know everyone who knows their job very well and who those don’t.
“But when we meet we just greet and respect them but at times I say to the president the lenience is enough,” she said.
With most ministers appointed by Mugabe having proved failures in resuscitating the moribund economy, Grace feels something has to be done.
“We want people to be appointed on merit, we want people who will work for us and there are people in Zanu PF who can do the job even better,” she said.
Grace criticised leaders fanning factionalism; a practice that she said should be stopped immediately.