DOTITO, MASHONALAND CENTRAL —
Vice President Joice Mujuru says Zanu PF has to remain united if it is to remain in power in 2018, when the country’s next national elections would be held.
Her comments come in the wake of worsening divisions in Zanu PF following the entrance of First Lady Grace Mugabe into national politics, especially as factions jostle for vantage positions as they seek to replace an ageing President Robert Mugabe.
Addressing more than 3,000 people that gathered at Dotito Secondary School in Mashonaland Central to join her in celebrating her attainment of a PHD degree, Mrs. Mujuru said divisions in Zanu PF may cost the ruling party in new elections expected in 2018.
Zanu PF has been divided into two main factions allegedly led by her and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Factionalism worsened recently when new political entrant Mrs. Mugabe called for the resignation of Mrs. Mujuru and heaped praise on her main Mnangagwa.
Although Zanu PF won a controversial landslide in last year’s elections, Mrs. Mujuru said the simmering divisions could contribute to the party’s downfall at the next elections.
Mrs. Mujuru also urged people in the ruling party to avoid mudslinging saying scolding each other does not help anyone or promote the country’s development.
Although she was diplomatic in her address, her message was suspected by those who attended the celebrations to be targeted at the first lady, who recently held nationwide rallies demeaning Mrs. Mujuru.
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF politburo on Friday ordered the outgoing party’s Women’s League boss, Oppa Muchinguri, to present a report to it this week regarding the rallies that the first lady used to launch scathing attacks on the vice president, accusing her of corruption and incompetency.
Mrs. Mujuru has, however, not responded to the allegations.
According to party spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, Muchinguri said she was not prepared to present the report on Friday.
Meanwhile, the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper on Sunday reported that the deputy president was working hand-in-glove with the Washington administration and some un-named local legislators to impeach President Mugabe.
But Mrs. Mujuru, who praised Mr. Mugabe throughout her Saturday address, said she was not a sellout.
Studio 7 failed to get a comment from US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, on the allegations.
Turning to her degree, Mrs. Mujuru urged people in her home province to ensure that they take their children to school, especially girls, saying Mashonaland Central was lagging behind in development because many people in the province were not well-educated.
She also paraded the professors who taught her during her studies in what many believed to be a ploy to embarrass the first lady, who allegedly did not properly acquire her PHD qualification.
Mrs. Mujuru and Mrs. Mugabe graduated with PHDs from the University of Zimbabwe in September although students at the institution have claimed that Mrs. Mugabe was never seen in class.
Secretary for education in Zanu PF, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, also appeared to be mocking the first lady when he said Mrs. Mujuru’s PHD was the most genuine degree.
One of Mashonaland Central political heavyweights, Saviour Kasukuwere did not attend the celebrations. Dignitaries who graced the occasion included Zanu PF national spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, ICTs minister and Zanu PF political commissar, Webster Shamu, deputy minister Munacho Mutezo and Zanu PF provincial chairpersons for Harare and Mashonaland West, Amos Midzi and Themba Mliswa, respectively.