WASHINGTON DC —
First Lady Grace Mugabe on Tuesday once again urged Vice President Joice Mujuru to pack her bags and go back to her rural home in Dotito, Mashonaland Central, for allegedly being corrupt, incompetent and attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe.
Addressing small business entrepreneurs in her Mazowe orphanage, Mrs. Mugabe claimed that the vice president is now a liability as she is stifling national development due to alleged incompetence.
According to the state-controlled Herald and independent NewsDay newspapers, the first lady told the cheering crowd that the president has the right to appoint a vice president of his choice in the forthcoming congress.
Her sentiments for Mujuru to leave office were echoed by Killer Zivhu of the Cross Border Traders Association that vendors are backing the first family in cleaning up the party allegedly riddled by so-called weevils.
The papers quoted Zivhu as further stressing that they want President Mugabe and his family to rule Zimbabwe for another 34 years or more.
Independent political analyst Charles Mangongera said he does not see the first lady Mrs. Mugabe preparing for the party’s take over by one of the party’s alleged faction leaders Emmerson Mnangagwa, but instead is preparing for a post-President Mugabe era.
Meanwhile, some observers say opposition parties have become mere spectators in Zanu PF’s political games as the first lady and her allies make giant strides to push beleaguered Vice President Mujuru out of the ruling party ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.
They say factionalism in the party, sparked by the first lady’s calls for Mrs. Mujuru to step down for allegedly being corrupt, incompetent and attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe, have seriously weakened Zanu PF which has ruled Zimbabwe for more than 34 years.
The observers say it is worrying that opposition parties are not taking advantage of the situation after failing over the years to dislodge Zanu PF from power.
For perspective on Zanu PF factionalism and its impact on Zimbabweans, VOA Studio 7’s Gibbs Dube speaks to one of the observers, independent political analyst Mlamuli Nkomo, and former Education and Sport Minister David Coltart.
Coltart says the tactics that are being used by the Mnangagwa group against Mrs. Mujuru are the same that were utilized to decimate parties like Zapu, Zimbabwe Unity Movement, Zanu Ndonga, Forum Party of Zimbabwe and Movement for Democratic Change formations.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union says it is against what it says is the manipulation of students by political parties following a rally held Monday by Mrs. Mugabe with some students being invited to endorse the first lady in her quest to lead the Zanu PF Women’s League.
Speaking at the rally held in Mazowe Monday the Zimbabwe Congress of Students (ZICOSU) president Leopold Chakanyuka took a cue from the first lady and urged deputy president Joice Mujuru to resign from office citing a number of allegations, including corruption.
ZINASU spokesman Avoid Masirahwa told VOA that the call by ZICOSU for Mrs. Mujuru to resign is reckless and unprincipled.