New Zimbabwe (London)

15 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Where Do You Stand On Grace, VP Challenged

Photo: Nehanda Radio
Oppah Muchinguri (left) seen here with Grace Mugabe (centre) and Zanu PF “Youth” Chairman Absolom Sikhosana.

VICE-President Joice Mujuru must break her silence and declare her position over the elevation of Grace Mugabe to the Zanu PF's politburo, war veteran and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Christopher Mutswangwa has said.

Speaking in an interview with the Herald published Saturday in which she attacks Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa as a rogue with no war record, Mutsvangwa demanded that Mujuru breaks her silence over the First Lady's formal entry into politics.

Grace, 49, was asked at take over as head of Zanu PF's Women's League during a birthday rally at her Mazowe farm - an event at which Mujuru was conspicuous by her absence.

The First Lady was formally nominated at the league's just-ended national conference in Harare and is expected to assume the post - along with a seat in the party's powerful politburo - at Zanu PF's main congress in December.

Mutsvangwa said it was important that Mujuru makes clear where she stood.

"On the Mazowe Declaration, it is crucial VP Mujuru comes out clear and unequivocal on where she stands on First Lady's leadership invitation," said Mutsvangwa.

Mujuru is said to lead one of the two rival factions in the high stakes fight to succeed President Robert Mugabe who turned 90 this year but insists he will serve out his current term.

The vice-president and her faction are thought to be privately seething at Grace's entry into politics as they see it as an attempt by the rival faction to undermine her authority in the politburo.

But Mutsvangwa, who belongs to the rival faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, warned Mutasa and other Mujuru allies that their attempts to foist her on Zimbabweans would come to grief.

He said Mutasa had no war record to speak of, with his claim to importance in the party backed solely by the "hazy clamour for the political ascendancy of Vice President Mujuru to the top national post".

"Why they want to foist her on Zimbabwe outside of the circle of her other many wartime comrades and without bringing them into that exercise, only the putchist elements and perhaps herself can explain," he said.

"Mutasa has been angling to abuse the illustrious record of Mujuru in a scheme that sidesteps fellow comrades who fought alongside her. There is some coaxing at instigation of Mutasa and cohorts on VP Mujuru to make her challenge.

"This conspiracy is directed at the man who has given VP Mujuru post-independence high offices from the onset of the Republic, an honour and recognition that has not been accorded to (any) of her peers."

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