First lady Grace Mugabe’s onslaught against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is part of a strategy to undo gains made by the veteran politician in Zanu PF’s fluid battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe, a Cabinet minister has admitted.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Grace shocked Zimbabweans at a Chinhoyi rally on July 31 when she ripped into Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba over their alleged succession manoeuvres.
She also openly told her husband to anoint a successor, in what has been interpreted to be a direct challenge to the narrative that the VP is already guaranteed the presidency when Mugabe eventually leaves office.
Youth, Economic Empowerment and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao, who is also Mugabe’s nephew, told The Standard in an exclusive interview yesterday that Grace’s outbursts were a reaction to sentiments among Mnangagwa’s supporters that he was now certain to be Zimbabwe’s next leader.
“I think this has come about as a result of a rather unfortunate whisper campaign that has been waged by Team Lacoste where they go about lying that the president has indicated that he wants to leave his throne to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which is not true,” he said.
“That is false and it has become very difficult for any ordinary person to ask the president if the information being peddled regarding his successor is true.
“This is made worse when the narrative being peddled that the president will pave way for VP Mnangagwa is accompanied by a story that the person who has a longest relationship with the president is VP Mnangagwa.”
Zhuwao indicated that the Chinhoyi attack against Mnangagwa and Charamba, who is accused of using state-controlled newspapers such as The Herald and The Sunday Mail to do the bidding for Team Lacoste, was only the beginning.
“We are heading to a situation where we are now eliminating command lies,” he said. “We are heading for a situation where we must now focus on ensuring that we preserve that legacy of the liberation struggle.”
Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is seen as a kingpin in the G40 faction, accuses state-controlled media of spreading “command lies” in support of Mnangagwa.
Zhuwao’s remarks came hard on the heels of reports that Mnangagwa met Mugabe over Grace’s statements, with some sources claiming the VP could have even offered to resign.
In the terse impromptu meeting, the VP is said to have spoken about his humiliation in Chinhoyi by Grace and in Harare a few days earlier.
After last week’s events, Team Lacoste is said to have rolled out a fight back strategy that started with a meeting in Harare on Thursday that set the stage for a bruising fight between the Zanu PF factions.
Key members allegedly visited all the country’s provinces meeting influential people and assuring supporters that the fight is not yet over.
Some ministers linked to the faction reportedly visited Gokwe in the Midlands and some places in Mashonaland West.
Sources said the infighting could start manifesting itself at the ongoing Zanu PF youth interface rallies, with the next meeting in Gwanda, Matabeleland South on Saturday expected to be full of fireworks.