FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe’s absence has unsettled her G40 faction in Zanu PF as her loyalists are no longer certain about their political future, insiders revealed last week.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
G40 faction members have been fighting each other in public while others are openly distancing themselves from the group.
A few months ago G40 upped its bid to torpedo a faction linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the race to succeed 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe, with Grace addressing public rallies to undress her rivals.
Grace is in Singapore where her daughter Bona went to deliver Mugabe’s first grandson over a month ago.
In her absence, officials previously linked to her were seen openly dissing out the camp or other members within the faction in a move that shows things are falling apart in the faction.
Senior G40 members said they had put on hold most of their programmes as they await further instructions from Grace when she returns home.
“We are expecting that she will attend the [Mugabe] solidarity march on Africa Day, but a lot of things have happened during her absence,” said one official linked to G40.
“Look at what Jimaya Muduvuri is doing, what Acie Lumumba and Patrick Zhuwao are doing to each other and reports that some members of the youth and women’s leagues have crossed swords.
“Muduvuri has since embarked on his own mission which he claims he was tasked by Mnangagwa.
“It now shows he deserted the camp. But amid all these things, people are unsure if she [Grace] is still interested in the camp or she is now on the other side as reported by the rival faction,” said the source.
Although sources described Muduvuri as a lightweight in the succession matrix, they said even senior people in the ruling party and government were taking a back seat in activities linked to G40.
On the other hand, those who bought into reports that Grace had dumped the camp were making frantic efforts to make peace with Mnangagwa’s faction.
While addressing a rally in Kadoma last year, Grace spoke glowingly about Muduvuri who then went on to fight known Mnangagwa allies such as Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena at the Zanu PF congress in Victoria Falls last year.
Muduvuri has since been dragged before a disciplinary hearing in his Mashonaland West province, believed also to be pro-G40, to explain his mission of “cleansing Mnangagwa faction’s soiled public image”.
Yesterday, he appeared to be downplaying the hearing, saying he was in Gwanda where he was continuing with his task.
“I appeared [at a disciplinary hearing] on Tuesday, but I told them that what we don’t want in Zanu PF are the said G40 and Mnangagwa factions. I will not stop the work I am doing,” he said.
“I saw VP Mnangagwa and asked him about all this [allegations of leading a faction] and he denied knowledge of any faction.
“People are happy with the work that I am doing and today [yesterday] we are in Gwanda with the same message,” he said, adding that he was given the mandate to tour the country by Mnangagwa.
Muduvuri vowed no one would fire him from Zanu PF.
“Who can chase me away? Who is the most senior person, the leader of a province or the VP?” he asked.
“When I appeared before them on Tuesday, I explained to them the kind of work that I am doing. The message is we don’t want factions and we don’t want to hear anything on G40 or Lacoste [Mnangagwa faction].”
Sources said Muduvuri’s relations with other G40 members, including the outspoken Hurungwe East legislator Sarah Mahoka, had soured because of his campaign.
There are also reports that he played a crucial role in mending relations between the fired seven provincial youth chairpersons and Grace.
“What is happening now is that people are sitting on the fence and in many instances people are appearing both to be in support of G40 and Lacoste because they are not sure which way to take.
“Mahoka called for a rally in her constituency recently which was meant to ignite the lost zeal, but the rally did nothing to appeal to the members.
“Grace’s return will put everything into shape and clear the air for G40,” added the source.
Mnangagwa’s faction — which enjoys the support of the military and war veterans — has seemingly gained ground in recent days as G40 members returned to their cocoons.
G40 has been using the Zanu PF national disciplinary committee as its biggest weapon in dealing with its foes.
At the last politburo meeting, party spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said the committee had not been able to deal with the pending cases, although he denied that Grace’s absence was stalling progress.
Khaya-Moyo’s mobile was not reachable yesterday.