FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe’s public attack on Vice-President Joice Mujuru is likely to help her remain Zanu PF’s second in command on popularity ratings with the grassroots, analysts and loyalists have said.
By MOSES MATENGA
Mujuru and Zanu PF bigwigs linked to her camp have come under fierce attack in the past weeks for allegedly leading a faction that is calling for President Robert Mugabe to step down and give way to younger leadership.
Grace openly revealed the plan to “baby-dump” Mujuru at congress in December while addressing a rally in Mashonaland Central, Mujuru’s home province.
On Friday, the First Lady went on to openly attack Mashonaland East Zanu PF chairman Ray Kaukonde linking him to a “factional leader”. She accused him of using money to buy women’s loyalty.
Kaukonde, who is reportedly linked to the Mujuru faction, however remained calm and continuously laughed while Grace attacked him for his alleged links to Mujuru.
Asked whether the attack meant the beginning of an end of Mujuru, analyst Ibbo Mandaza said: “Far from it, obviously not. It’s quite the opposite. It’s far from it.”
Another analyst Alexander Rusero said Grace’s attack on Mujuru would not signify her political demise but could make her stronger.
“The dilemma could be that it is coming from the First Lady but I don’t think the political career of a Vice-President can end at a rally. We are not seeing Mujuru’s waterloo soon. The culture of Zanu PF is to maintain its leadership,” said Rusero. “Zanu PF is not a party of bigger surprises and I don’t see anything happening to Mujuru.”
Opposition MDC-T official Job Sikhala posted on social media that he, like many others, had now developed sympathy for Mujuru because of the ceaseless attacks. He said this could not have happened if the late Solomon Mujuru was alive.
“Grace is not speaking for herself. She is speaking on behalf of her husband who is a monumental failure in as far as the state of Zimbabwe is concerned. She is leaving no chance to destroy Mujuru at any given chance.”
“…But still I foresee blood on the floor.”
Solomon Mujuru, once regarded as a kingmaker in Zanu PF died in a mysterious inferno at his Beatrice farm in August 2011.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, another political analyst said it was not likely that Mujuru would be booted from the party following Grace’s remarks.
“The VP is not an ordinary member of the party and there is no precedence in Zanu PF that a VP can be removed like that,” he said.
Grace has been on the rampage attacking the Mujuru camp for allegedly fanning factionalism.
“The youths have alerted me about someone who is spearheading factionalism in this [Mashonaland Central] province and I told Baba [President Mugabe] to ‘baby-dump’ that person. I told him that if he does not dump the person, we will do it ourselves,” she said in Bindura on Thursday.
Grace is championing the slogan “down with Gamatox” in apparent reference to secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa who said the banned chemical should be used against “weevils” in the party.
The term “weevils” became popular a few months ago when Mugabe lashed out at Zanu PF members he accused of destroying the party from within, most of them linked to a faction loyal to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mujuru loyalists said Grace’s attacks have done a lot in promoting the VP.
They said Mujuru would remain quiet and work with the people on the ground.
“She has support on the ground and we advise her to remain quiet now and not to say anything. People will decide at the congress.
Remember what is important is to have support from districts and provinces. She [Mujuru] has that,” said a Politburo member.
Asked whether Zanu PF would take action to rein in Grace for openly attacking party leaders in the Presidium, party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo refused to comment saying such issues could only be discussed in the Politburo.