MASVINGO — Outgoing Zanu PF Women’s League chairperson, Oppah Muchinguri has revealed that First Lady Grace Mugabe’s ascendency was a well thought-out and calculated plot to stop political rivals from gaining ground in the gruelling succession race in the ruling party.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Muchinguri all but confirmed speculation that Grace was nominated to be the Women’s League boss to scuttle Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s presidential bid.
Speaking at Mucheke Stadium on Thursday where Grace addressed thousands as part of her “Thank You” rallies, Muchinguri said it was not by accident that she quit her powerful post.
“Takakutambai tingoringo. Tikati Mai Mugabe endaiko, isai ma brake pasuccession. Anenge abata moto anotsva,” [We devised a game plan for you. We sent Mai Mugabe to apply brakes to the succession. If you play with fire, you will get burnt] she said, in apparent reference to Mujuru’s faction.
Though she publicly denies leading a faction, it is an open secret that there is a tussle between Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s factions. The factions are trying to strategically position themselves for an eventual takeover in the event that Mugabe leaves office.
Muchinguri accused political rivals in the party of being hypocritical.
“Some people in the party lie that they want the President. We realised that structures were being tampered with. We were slapped with sanctions, yet some people are busy plotting against Mugabe,” she said.
“Look yourself in the mirror, do not think you can succeed Mugabe and take his seat. Never!”
Muchinguri also threatened to name and shame bigwigs who were allegedly plotting against Mugabe.
As if to confirm Muchinguri’s statement, Mnangagwa, who was at the rally, emphasised in a slogan the need not only to support Mugabe, but his wife as well.
“Pamberi na VaMugabe, namai vacho” he said twice with emphasis, to an applause from the crowd.
Grace also confirmed that she was now aiming for the Presidency while making a thinly veiled attack on officials still supporting Mujuru.
“If you harden your head, what if the person you are fighting for loses? What will you do? Where will you go? When it ends, some people will suffer strokes,” she said.
The First Lady threatened unspecified Zanu PF officials, warning they should not “play with fire lest they got burnt.”
“You only realise after something has befallen you and others say you brought this upon yourself,” she said.
Grace saved her strident attack for those angling to succeed her husband.
“Most people were being spoon-fed by my husband. He worked for them, yet today you hear them saying they want to rule the country. Are you able to rule? Leave us alone, you are revolting, you are not able to rule the country.”