HARARE - An angry First Lady, Grace Mugabe, yesterday thumbed her nose at Zanu PF’s bigwigs who are meeting in a make-or-break politburo meeting in Harare today to be chaired by her husband, President Robert Mugabe.
Against all expectations that common sense would finally prevail, and that she would endeavour to control her emotions ahead of today’s do-or-die politburo meeting, after weeks of heightened tension in the party that she is partly responsible for, she went berserk at her meeting with mainly war collaborators and youths at her Mazowe business hub.
She lashed out even more fiercely at all her perceived enemies including embattled Vice President Joice Mujuru, Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Ray Kaukonde and Zimbabwe’s leading daily newspaper, the Daily News.
For the very first time since she launched her controversial and divisive “Meet the People” tour a fortnight ago, she openly and roundly slated Mujuru, mentioning the beleaguered widow by name.
“Today is the day for (the) final push,” she said. “I’m no longer going to beat about the bush any longer. The moment of truth has arrived. Mujuru should go and rest because she has failed.
“It’s really hurts to be fired. It is better for Mujuru to resign. She should resign and go to farm tobacco and look after grandchildren. Mujuru needs to go because enough is enough.
“The party will look for a replacement because we have a lot of women who are capable of filing that vacancy.
“She has no brains, no wisdom and no principles. Can a person who wants to lead a country be an extortionist, bribe taker and have no principles?”
Also for the first time, the feisty First Lady appeared to show her hand when she called on Zimbabweans to “respect” Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom she said had done “the honourable thing” and let Mujuru take the post, although he had been voted by eight provinces to be VP a decade ago.
“Mnangagwa is a man of honour,” she said. “In 2004 he had the backing of eight provinces to become vice president. But when the president said that position was now reserved for a woman, Mnangagwa respected the decision despite having popular support. He never left the party in protest to form his own party because he respects Mugabe.”
Zanu PF’s escalating succession wars have mainly been fought in the names of Mnangagwa and Mujuru, although both senior party heavyweights vehemently deny leading any factions.
Zeroing in on Mujuru, amid shouts that the VP must go, Grace boasted that it was through her doing that Mujuru had been parachuted to the VP position in the first place.
“Ndini ndakaita kuti Mai Mujuru vave pa position iyoyi, ndikafara pavakaita VP (I campaigned for Mujuru to be VP and was happy)... Amai ava havana chavakazoita nekuti she spent her time eyeing the president’s post. I don’t see kuti vakakodzera kutungamira nyika ino here (She slept on the job and she is not fit to lead),” she said, adding that Mujuru was using money to try and topple Mugabe.
“When President Mugabe will be busy in the office working, Mujuru will be thinking of grabbing 10 percent from companies,” she said.
“I know what I am talking about and if she denies this, she should come to me and tell me face-to-face.
“She is incompetent and goes to the office to tell the president gossip. She thinks Mugabe would be in office searching for gossip. She is incompetent and piggybacks on Mugabe.”
Grace claimed she was the one who brought Mujuru to power.
“During the 2003 conference I said the quota system needs to be implemented to mainstream women,” she said. “I said women should be represented in all party structures. I was one of those that advocated for the vice president vacancy to be reserved for a woman. I supported Mai Mujuru’s ascendancy to that position. I was very, very happy that a woman was now a vice president. But when in power Mai Mujuru made an about turn. She didn’t want to talk to us or work with us.
“Instead of taking advantage of the fact that she was working very close with a fountain of knowledge (Mugabe), she was plotting his ouster.”
Grace said while people were free to support Mujuru, Zimbabweans needed to understand that there was one leader, Mugabe, “who has one wife” and there were certainly many other people who could run the country better than Mujuru.
“We know you don’t work. Just going kubasa wakaberekwa naMugabe, zvapera nhasi izvozvo (you are being carried by Mugabe at work, and that is no longer going to happen,” she said, adding that Mujuru’s alleged quest to “remove Mugabe by force” would not be tolerated.
Grace slated “Mujuru’s combination” with Kaukonde as “pathetic”, alleging that the VP always surrounded herself with “political prostitutes”.
“Kaukonde is a Mujuru agent. Manje ndakamumaka big time. Iko kaye ndiko kane demon (I’m watching him very carefully. He has a demon,” she said, alleging further that Kaukonde had given restless youths $75 each at her chaotic Marondera rally so that they could disturb the gathering.
She also bemoaned the fact that she had never heard Mujuru saying “Pasi neMDC (Down with MDC) which was allegedly not consistent with the action of a senior Zanu PF official.
Turning to the Daily News, she said, “yakatengwa ndosaka muchiona vachingonyora nezvangu (the paper was bought by her enemies and that’s why it always writes things about me).”
Speaking earlier, outgoing Women’s League boss, Oppah Muchinguri, said she had surrendered her post to Grace “the game-changer after I realised that they wanted to take over the youths and the women’s leagues.”
She said the party was now infested with “little terrorists” who were running parallel structures in the party that meant that there were now two centres of power in the party and the government, which was creating chaos.
Among the prominent politicians at yesterday’s gathering were local government minister Ignatius Chombo, Water minister Savior Kasukuwere, Information minister Jonathan Moyo, prominent war collaborator Joseph Chinotimba, and deputy Information minister Supa Mandiwanzira.