Mnangagwa fingers Grace

HARARE - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has added his voice to those of other prominent Zanu PF figures who have fingered President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace as the lynchpin of the ongoing brutal purges of party officials perceived to be close to former Vice President Joice Mujuru.

In an unusually forthright interview with State media at the weekend, the normally cagey Mnangagwa said he was not part of the group of party hardliners who had plotted the ouster of Mujuru and others linked to her.

He added candidly that until mid-last year, all had been set for the former VP to be confirmed in her position at Zanu PF's damp squib "elective" congress that that was held in Harare last December, until the controversial First Lady openly entered the political fray.

"Until Amai Mugabe began those rallies, I think everybody was accepting that when we go to Congress, Mai Mujuru will be confirmed as Vice-President.

“The area we had doubt as to who was going to come (as the other VP) was that of the Zapu element. We didn’t know who was going to come.

“But then when the First Lady began doing those rallies and revelations which were now coming out; we were taken by storm and this was done within a period of less than four eeks, five weeks, thereabouts," Mnangagwa told the Sunday Mail.

Mnangagwa’s revelations dovetail with what former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa said in an interview with the Daily News last week, that the quarrelsome First Lady is now indisputably in charge of the ruling party, and not her nonagenarian husband.

Mugabe himself told his supporters at the party’s disputed December congress that he was now being told what to do by Grace.

In his weekend interview, Mnangagwa added that after Grace's untested accusations against Mujuru had been made public, no one in the party was sure whether Mujuru would be fired or not.

“We didn’t know how the President was going to resolve that one. But we were satisfied (with the outcome) individually, I think: not that there was any meeting which sat together and said no, no," he said.

Even after Mugabe had fired Mujuru, Mnangagwa said he did not know that he was going to be appointed one of the nonagenarian's deputies.

“Until the last minute, he never confided in me to say he wants to make me Vice-President. Never. He just announced. I didn’t know whether to jump or sit. So, it took everybody by surprise.”

A relaxed Mutasa added fuel to the fire raging within Mugabe’s warring Zanu PF, stating matter-of-factly last week that Grace was now indisputably in charge of the ruling party.

Mutasa, for long a close confidante of Mugabe and a former Cabinet minister in charge of the country’s spooks, said Grace was now unequivocally the “centre of power” in the ruling party.

His insider comments followed his expected “expulsion” from the party last Wednesday, together with his voluble nephew Temba Mliswa — as the former liberation movement continues with its brutal purges of all senior officials perceived to be sympathetic to Mujuru.

“Yes. I expected it (his purported expulsion). They said so a long time ago.

“They were waiting for the First Lady. Now she is back and they have shown where the centre of their power is.

“However, they did not specify which Zanu PF they expelled me from, the real one which puts people first, or the unlawful one to which they belong to,” the seemingly unflappable Mutasa said.

His pointed comments regarding Grace’s undue influence in Zanu PF came as social media speculation around the issue went gaga last week, amid snide comments to the effect that Mugabe had allegedly accompanied Grace to last Wednesday’s politburo meeting.

The frenetic online debates came after State media showed images of Grace surprisingly sitting next to Mugabe in the politburo meeting, and not second vice president Phelekezela Mphoko, as would normally be demanded by protocol.

Mutasa’s comments also followed those made by former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda late last year, who was quoted saying, “I am not going to allow any coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom” at the height of the Grace-fronted anarchy that is still devouring Zanu PF.

So biting and resonant with ordinary Zimbabweans was that quote that it ultimately contributed to authorities dragging the popular war veteran to court where he is facing charges of insulting or undermining Mugabe’s authority.

In the meantime, Grace demonstrated the immense power she now wields within Zimbabwe’s body politic when Cabinet ministers, service chiefs and Zanu PF bigwigs scrambled to Harare International Airport to welcome her back to the country a fortnight ago after she had been away in the Far East for more than two months.

Observers said the fact that these bigwigs had felt compelled to converge at the airport together with hundreds of ruling party supporters to welcome her back to Zimbabwe in the manner they did spoke volumes about how much political power she now wielded in the country.

There was so much pomp and ceremony as she arrived back in the country on the day that one senior Zanu PF official who spoke to the Daily News described her welcome as “fitting for a Queen”.

“She (Grace) is now probably the most powerful politician in Zimbabwe, which is why her welcome back to the country today almost rivalled the treatment that the president gets when he returns from his trips abroad.

“To not go and pay homage to Amai at the moment amounts to virtual political suicide and everyone knows this. Her welcome was fitting for a Queen,” the central committee member, who requested anonymity, said.

Among the bigwigs at the airport on the day were Mnangagwa, Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, politburo member Shuvai Mahofa and fast-rising youth league boss Pupurai Togarepi.

Meanwhile, and with the long-mooted court action by disaffected Zanu PF stalwarts now set to reach the bench this week, the likelihood of the ruling party splitting into two bitterly opposed camps is becoming more real.

The spokesperson for the aggrieved party pioneers, Rugare Gumbo, told the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend that they were hopeful that their court challenge regarding the alleged illegality of the disputed Zanu PF congress would begin today.

“...Yes, the court papers should be filed at the High Court on Monday.

“Everything that’s needed to be done has been done and we are now ready. I can’t say much more now because the court process will determine everything,” Gumbo said.

A well-placed source also confirmed the imminence of the court action, revealing further that “several top legal brains in the country have volunteered to work on the application, which is going to be one of the most bruising and intriguing legal battles ever fought in Zimbabwean courts”.

“There are dozens of affidavits from bona fide Zanu PF members, party officials and others who were illegally kicked out by the illegal congress.

“This court case will expose President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF as tyrants who think they are above the law. It will be a very interesting case for the judges because the illegalities around that fake congress are so obvious and glaring, and there for all to see,” the source said.

Retired, but hugely respected party elder, Cephas Msipa, was among the first prominent party members to criticise Mugabe openly last year for failing to deal with Zanu PF’s often violent infighting and for refusing to take advice on the party’s escalating factionalism.

In an interview with the Daily News that was carried in mid-October last year, Msipa said pointedly that he feared for the worst for Zanu PF if intra-party relations remained as fractious as they were in the ruling party.

“If people continue being dissatisfied with what is happening, it is possible to have a split. I think the president has the key to all these issues. I hate factionalism and if it continues I don’t know what will become of the party,” he said ruefully.

He also attacked the party faction aligned to Mnangagwa for behaving as if it “owned” Grace — a development that he said was fuelling factionalism inside the party.

Comments (17)

Yoh, maybe change the title, maybe.

Pakaipa - 23 February 2015

I think this is the right time for people like Jabulani and the so called spokesman of the Zanu-pf outcasts to remember that Zanupf will never be a united party again.If they want to remain relevant in the Zimbabwean political land scape,they must join hands and form an organized political party to challenge Mugabe come 2018.There will not get a fair outcome at the courts as long as the judges are beneficiaries of the chaotic land reform.

zvachonyana - 23 February 2015

Even these outside forces are tired as well. Zimbabwe needs a young leadership that will work towards creating value before looting anything. As for the lady, I am witnessing a bank collapsing now under female leadership and rest assured, if people are not carefull, she will move right to the top and destroy everything we have known. Women can be very calculating so watch this space.

UnBanked - 23 February 2015

let people not use abusive remarks, don't be fooled, everything on internet is traceable. don't say u ve not been told. ndinokudai mose.

munhuwakudhara - 23 February 2015

"mnangagwa fingered grace". Something wrong with that headline.

Farai Mangono - 23 February 2015

Mr Editor, the headline has seriously vulgar connotations and should be severly censored. My Ambuya was blushing when she read it and she asked my wife if the president was not considering filing for divorce after his wife was "fingered" by another man! I suggest that in future your journos desist from using such vulgar lanuguage.

James Dhludhlu - 23 February 2015

The word 'finger' has since taken a new meaning the world sure our reporters can use other terms.

yoyo - 23 February 2015

Coolest headline ever....this should be breaking news. The wife of Zimbabwe's president was fingered by his deputy.

Dr Gamatox (PhD) - 23 February 2015

Regardless of what the first lady is doing, you need to use the proper language. This headline is an insult to the first lady and the deputy as well. What do you think school children are asking their parents?

Fruit Matunda - 24 February 2015

The truth of the matter is that factionalism always existed but the first lady was used by the other faction to play all the dirty job that she did much to their favour.It is clear that she is no politician at all her qualities are far too away from that of a politician as demostrated by the way she handled or mingled in the faction strife.VP Manangwangwa is right because there is no day he spoke bad about his erstwhile cdes mai Mujuru ,Mutasa but it was all left for the Dr Grcace and that totally decimated the dignity that the President had as was further testified by the events at the congress.There is no doubt the current insanity in Zanu Pf is the creation of the first lady because before she entered with her trotting countrywide defaming and insulting by then VP Mujuru and all Charirpersons on her side all fell apart in Zanu Pf

carson macate - 24 February 2015

One of the days the people will have to rise up to stop this nonsense.

mosquito - 24 February 2015

Time will tell.

GONYE - 24 February 2015

I am not being funny but the country is dying a slow death at the hands of ZanuPF and all people can worry about is the title of an article. Until Zimbabweans stop worry about petty things our country will never recover from the shambles it is in now. Zimbabweans need to focus more on how to fix the country and not on the title of an article. People need to get their priorities right.......

Concerned Zimbabwean - 24 February 2015

The truthis that English is our second language. The other truth is that meanings of certain words are determined by how a certain cultural or people in a certain part of the world use that word and that will give certain perceptions to them as to the meaning of the word. There nothing wrong with the way the word FINNGERED has been used. It simply means in this context POINTING A FINGER AT. There is no other meaning to the normal English speaking person unless if in your own particular part of the world you gave it a dirty meaning.

Hannaniah - 24 February 2015

that's pure lies. he crafted the new zpf constitution allowing Mugabe to appoint him deputy president. Aaaa unodirei kuti vhara kudaro

gwabu - 24 February 2015

Mnangagwa has realised that Mugabe will not give him powers on a silver platter. If Mugabe dies in office which is the definate scenario he too Munangagwa is as good as dead too within zanu pf. He has to engage neutral gear ahead of the final zanu pf battle post mugabe era. The ousted Mujuru faction has more support base than the current zanu pf set up.Its too late for Munangagwa.

X-MAN IV - 24 February 2015

This is one of the things yu guys need to clarify. It seems this post has been misread by so many people. I do not know why people always look at negative and bad. Anyway, thanks a lot to you dailynews for the info. You are the best paper in my country by miles. every week we hear big guys complaining about the power and tenacity of private media. im glad we still have dedicated professional junos with daily news. The fun thing with this post is that it has been recopied word for word by many other copycats out there muzim,, nehanda etc. whatever they say i still find this post to be more than what we see with eyes

Ron Choto - 9 December 2015

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