The political life of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the ruling Zanu PF party now hangs by a thread after President Robert Mugabe openly told him he is free to walk out and form his own party, while the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe said the Women’s League wants its vice presidency position back.
This came out during the 9th Presidential Youth Interface rally held at White City Stadium in Bulawayo this afternoon, which Cde Mnangagwa and his wife, Auxillia Mnangagwa attended.
President Mugabe was incensed that some party members had hired buses for their supporters to come and boo the First Family, while Masvingo Province has openly declared allegiance to Mnangagwa while denigrating him.
“To hire buses for people to come and boo us here? I know who is behind this and we cannot let this continue. If they don’t want me to lead the party, they are free to go, I will not stand in their way,” roared President Mugabe.
“The First Lady is right, she is speaking the truth. We are denigrated and insulted in the name of Cde Mnangagwa. Did I make a mistake in appointing Cde Mnangagwa as Vice President? If so I can remove him now. You hear people in Masvingo saying this province is not for Mugabe, it is for Mnangagwa. The likes of [Lovemore] Matuke who are you? Okay, go away, we go our way. I stand with those who support me and you also stand with your people, if you want you can form your own party. We are going for elections next year and our party’s congress and it is time to make the final decision,” added Mugabe.
Still on factionalism and regionalism, the President slammed those who want to literally partition the country.
“We don’t want people who believe in that a particular person should rule in a particular province or area. Because you go to the toilet there, you think it is your area? We will kick you out, we don’t want people with such a mentality,” he said.
Before President Mugabe’s speech, the First Lady also took Mnangagwa to task for ‘fanning factionalism,’ adding that his fate will be decided at next month’s congress where changes to the party’s constitution and presidium will be effected.
“Our constitution was right when it stated that one Vice President should be a woman. That was changed when Joice Mujuru was fired and replaced by Vice President Mnangagwa. The latter knows that we now want our position back,” said Dr Grace Mugabe, vowing that she is not afraid to speak the truth, even if soldiers are to shoot her for that.
“The constitution must be amended this November ahead of the extra-ordinary congress in December. We will also meet as the Women’s League this month to choose our candidate. Some say President Mugabe wants me as the Vice President. Even if I become Vice President, is there anything wrong with that? I am a member of the party like others,” she added.
The First Lady said all the past Vice Presidents such as Dr Joshua Nkomo, Cde John Nkomo, Dr Simon Muzenda and Cde Joseph Msika respected President Mugabe as the only centre of power, but the ascendency of Cde Mnangagwa to the post has created chaos in the party.
Dr Mugabe blamed Vice President Mnangagwa for causing the expulsion of several party members whom he used to pursue his factional agenda.
She also defended the Zanu PF National Political Commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere and his siblings in Mashonaland Central Province, saying there is nothing wrong in having siblings in the party as the precedence was set by Cde Mnangagwa when he left a constituency seat to his wife.
Dr Mugabe also spoke on Professor Jonathan Moyo’s fallout with Vice President Mnangagwa, saying at some point, the two worked to form a party called United People’s Movement to challenge President Mugabe.
“Now Cde Mnangagwa wants Professor Moyo to be arrested on trumped up charges such as that on ZIMDEF funds, because he has exposed him,” she said.
The proposed Zanu PF extra-ordinary congress in December has already received support, with the Zanu PF Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Kudzanayi Chipanga saying it will give them an opportunity to amend the party’s constitution and effect the desired changes on the presidium.
Cde Chipanga also slammed some rogue youths, among them one Charumbira, whom he said was among those booing the First Lady.
He expressed disappointment that after petitions by both the Bulawayo Provincial Youth League and the National Youth League, the Politburo is “hesitant to expel such rotten eggs.”