First lady Grace Mugabe on Saturday yesterday told a bewildered Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa that he risked going the same way as his predecessor Joice Mujuru if he did not rein in his supporters.
By Everson Mushava
The visibly-angry Grace accused Mnangagwa of plotting against her husband in front of thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a rally addressed by President Robert Mugabe in Bindura.
She took issue with claims by the VP’s backers that he was poisoned last month after he allegedly ate ice-cream from the first family’s Gushungo Dairies.
Mnangagwa has since issued a statement stating that he did not eat the ice-cream, but Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife said the poisoning fiasco was just one of many crimes the Midlands political godfather had committed against his boss.
“VP Mnangagwa fell sick and it was said the president and his wife wanted to kill him,” charged Grace, before revealing the dramatic events that happened at the Zanu PF’s central committee meeting held in Harare on Friday.
The first lady said a Mnangagwa supporter, believed to be Beauty Mutero, accused her of being the leader of the G40 faction, which tried to kill Mugabe’s deputy.
“And listen to what someone said at the central committee meeting yesterday, very illogical reasoning that we wanted to kill VP Mnangagwa so that VP Phelekezela Mphoko would act as president and eventually hand over power to me,” she revealed.
Grace said the attack on the first family started in 2014 when Zanu PF youth leaders linked to Mnangagwa launched an onslaught against Mugabe and herself.
“They were doing this to frustrate me so that I tell the president to quit so that Mnangagwa takes over because they were using the VP’s name,” she said.
“They said Mugabe was grooming his wife to take over. War veterans were fired for the same reason.
“It doesn’t mean I don’t trust the VP, but I don’t think it is a good thing for him to keep quite when his supporters are saying this.
“VP Mnangagwa, if you support the president, why do you associate with people who were fired from the party for attacking him? You are seen with some of the people holding a cup written ‘I am the boss’.
“Am begging the VP to stop this! I once warned Mujuru and she thought I was joking and where is she now?”
Grace asked Mnangagwa why he kept quiet while the name of the first family’s business was being dragged in the mud.
She said people get sick, but what was wrong was when the VP wanted to manipulate his sickness for political ends.
She revealed that Mugabe was once a victim of food poisoning at a rally in Manicaland and fell sick at the funeral of Senate president Edna Madzongwe’s husband but no one made a fuss about it.
“He was sick and thought he was dying. He asked me to call [Defence minister Sydney] Sekeramayi so that he could talk to him before he died. But he recovered and we never said anything,” Grace said.
“I also fell sick after taking food; I lost about five kilogrammes in one night. I was run over by a car but did not even say the driver was sent by someone.”
She said Zanu PF supporters at some point also wanted to demonstrate against Mnangagwa but she stopped them.
Grace said Masvingo and Midlands were the hot spots of factionalism and Masvingo was at the forefront claiming that the VP was poisoned through ice-cream from Gushungo Dairies.
“Yesterday [Friday] I heard the worst lies from [Zanu PF deputy secretary for legal affairs Paul] Mangwana that Masvingo was united. It is a lie. There are problems in Masvingo and Midlands,” she said.
Grace sprang to the defence of Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, saying he was not going anywhere, claiming the reason why he was being targeted was that he refused to join Team Lacoste.
She also said Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo was also being prevented from doing his job through false corruption charges.
Moyo accused Mnangagwa of cooking up the abuse of office charges where he was accused of stealing over $400 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund last year.
The VP sat stone-faced alongside his wife Auxilia as Grace roasted him.