9 July 2018

Zimbabwe: Grace Mugabe's Return Divides Tense MDC

Photo: Patrick Zhuwao/Facebook
Former president Robert Mugabe and former first lady Grace Mugabe (file photo).

Harare — REPORTS about the beleaguered former first lady, Grace Mugabe, joining the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance are dividing the party and sending panic among supporters.

It has been reported the wife of deposed president, Robert Mugabe, would be co-opted into the opposition party as deputy president if the party led by Nelson Chamisa won elections on July 30.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Mrs Mugabe has set conditions that if offered the position in the MDC Alliance, she would finance the party's election campaign since the opposition was experiencing financial constraints.

There are also reports Chamisa is doing business with the Mugabes.

Some senior MDC officials are against bringing her to the party.

MDC has already split into two rival factions after Chamisa grabbed the presidential position ahead of Thokozani Khupe, the elected deputy of late founding president, Morgan Tsvangirai following the demise in February.

"We will not accept Grace Mugabe come hell or high water," said an official on condition of anonymity.

Supporters were equally critical.

"If what we are reading in the media is true, then I'm afraid, I will not be part of the new MDC with Grace Mugabe as its deputy," said Shaw Chaurura.

Jeffrey Mugwisi of Southlea Park, Harare, said: "The entire nation came together in November 2017 to celebrate the removal of a dictator (Mugabe). MDC is smuggling back the same creature that hindered democracy and rule of law."

Apart from years denouncing the MDC as sellouts, the ex-first lady was central to the divisions that led to the ouster of her husband last November.

She also has a reputation for violence.

"We all know how violent, wicked and undemocratic the former first lady is. Why bring her back through back door," said Judith Zvabva of Highfield, Harare.

The former first lady is also linked to the formation of the National Patriotic Front (NPF) following the removal of Mugabe by the military.

Chamisa's spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda, denied the widespread reports Mrs Mugabe was joining MDC.

"President Chamisa does not announce appointments through anyone but his office. The information you are referring to is not from his office," Sibanda said.

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