Grace Mugabe heads to Mash Central

HARARE - Controversial First Lady Grace Mugabe’s countrywide rallies take her to the politically-volatile Mashonaland Central this week where she will address party supporters in Rushinga.

Zanu PF Mash Central chairman Dickson Mafios confirmed Grace’s visit to the home province of former vice president Joice Mujuru, ousted from Zanu PF on allegations of planning to assassinate her husband, President Robert Mugabe.

This is the fourth national tour that the First Lady has undertaken this year after Matabeleland North, Mashonaland West and recently, Manicaland.

“We are eagerly expecting her arrival on Wednesday and everything is in place,” Mafios told the Daily News.

“This is a massive event for us as a province because we are receiving Dr Amai not only in her capacity as the mother of the nation and women’s league boss but also as one of our biggest farmers in the province.”

While Mafios portrayed a picture of the majority of Zanu PF supporters heartily welcoming Grace to the province, some are certainly trembling with fear as Grace has not missed such an opportunity to tear into those she views as fanning factionalism.

In Manicaland,  last week, she subjected party provincial bigwigs including secretary for Transport in the politburo, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, to some embarrassing shellacking during a closed-door briefing.

Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is aligned to a faction backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the race to succeed the 91-year-old Mugabe, was accused of acting as the provincial “godmother” and fanning factionalism.

And Mnangagwa’s allies in Mashonaland Central expect the same humiliation when the belligerent Grace descends on the province that is also home to one of her key allies, Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

“Like (Provincial minister Mandi) Chimene did in Manicaland, we expect that Mafios will tell her all sorts of lies about what is obtaining in the province so that his enemies will be harassed by the First Lady and him seen as the real comrade,” a provincial executive member sympathetic to Mnangagwa confided in the Daily News yesterday.

“Some of us are even contemplating boycotting the rally because we do not want to be embarrassed in public. We have our own ways of fighting back, just wait and see.”

Kasukuwere is believed to be the leader of the G40 faction made up of the party’s Young Turks positioning itself to wrestle the party — with Grace’s help — from the Zanu PF old guard.

To set the tone for Grace’s visit, the party’s provincial coordinating committee in the province suspended some of Mnangagwa’s most vocal allies, including provincial youth league chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu, Paul Rwodzi, the provincial secretary for administration and Batsirai Musani, who is provincial secretary for security.

The trio is accused of inviting Mnangagwa to the province recently where he engaged in bizarre apostolic rites as he allegedly sought spiritual help from Madzibaba Wimbo, who is famed for “prophesying” Mugabe’s presidency way back in 1957, to succeed the nonagenarian.

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