Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe is reportedly plotting a "final push" to oust Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the forthcoming Zanu-PF youth interface rally in Harare.
According to NewsDay, Grace had set in motion an elaborate plan to force the vice president out of the ruling Zanu-PF and government, as the battle to succeed the ageing President Robert Mugabe intensified.
The report quoted party insiders as saying that the plan was to ferry "selected supporters" from surrounding provinces, Mashonaland East, West and Central, to increase pressure on the vice president and boot him out on allegations of plotting to seize power from Mugabe.
"... She demanded to know the logistics that would be put in place for the Harare rally and indicated she would be monitoring progress. The Harare rally is meant to be used as the ultimate platform to force him (Mnangagwa) out," an unnamed source for fear of reprisals was quoted as saying.
The ruling Zanu-PF youth secretary for administration Xavier Kazizi, however, denied any knowledge of the plans.
He reportedly demanded to know where such information was coming from.
'Quitting is not an option'
This came a week after Mnangagwa was reportedly also said to be planning a fight back strategy against the first family.
An unnamed source within his camp known as Team Lacoste was quoted as saying: "Quitting was not an option for the deputy president; instead his team would begin a series of public pronouncements to rebut all the allegations, which have been made against him."
Mnangagwa's plans were set to be rolled out soon after the First Family came back from the United Nations General Assembly.
According to reports President Mugabe and his wife launched a scathing attack on Mnangagwa, accusing him of fanning factionalism within the Zanu-PF party.
First to fire the salvo on Mnangagwa in front of thousands of party supporters who gathered at Chipadze Stadium for the 8th Presidential Youth Interface rally was the First Lady, who challenged the deputy president to rein in his supporters whom she accused of insulting the presidency in their quest to succeed her husband.
Grace told the ruling party supporters that "Mnangagwa is the leader of Team Lacoste; why are you remaining quiet when your people are insulting the presidency? Some youths are being expelled from the party for indiscipline and you are being seen together at your house drinking tea and beer with them and that is not right. We get angry when we see such things," an angry Grace was quoted as saying.
'I am the boss'
Following Grace's remarks, President Mugabe also took to the stage and belittled his deputy, saying the long-time ally was among people who were plotting to oust in the early 2000s.
Mugabe said that Mnangagwa was at the time working closely with Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo when they made the plans in Tsholotsho.
"I really do not know what happened along the way that Moyo decided to abandon the project. We now hear that he is against Mnangagwa. If you ask Mnangagwa he will tell you that he was not there. He is a qualified lawyer; he is clever and he knows how to defend himself," said Mugabe.
Mnangagwa himself torched a storm recently when he appeared in pictures on social media holding a coffee mug inscribed "I am the boss". He was in the company of controversial businessman Energy Mutodi who was recently expelled from Zanu-PF party for causing alarm and despondency when he insinuated that Mnangagwa was poisoned at a recent rally held in Gwanda.