WASHINGTON DC —
President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday took a swipe at her beleaguered deputy, Joice Mujuru, accusing her of being, “too simplistic to lead the country”.
Mr. Mugabe made the remarks after apparently being irked by Mrs. Mujuru’s second no-show at the party’s crucial Politburo meeting in Harare. The meeting marked the beginning of the party’s congress.
Mrs. Mujuru and one of her allies, secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, are said to have skipped the meeting.
Mr. Mugabe told party members and the media before the beginning of the meeting that Mrs. Mujuru did not support the call for elections last year, controversially won by the ruling Zanu-PF party.
At that time Zanu-PF was in a coalition government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change with Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.
And as tensions ran high in the ruling Zanu-PF party, the police anti-riot unit was said to have been put on high alert.
Harare youth Zanu-PF chairman Godwin Gomwe, who’s allegedly aligned to a faction led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and currently enjoying Mr. Mugabe’s favor, told Studio 7 that they will physically remove Vice President Mujuru from the VIP table should she choose to attend the congress.
Mrs. Mujuru and her allies are being accused by the rival Mnangangwa faction of attempting to assassinate President Mugabe resulting in the purging of her allies. Most of them will not attend the congress.
The coup plot claims against Mr. Mugabe have remained unsubstantiated and police have not arrested the alleged coup plotters. But ousted former war veterans chief Jabulani Sibanda was the only one arrested and was freed on bail Tuesday.
He was charged with undermining the authority of the president when he commented that there had been a “bedroom coup” in the country following scathing attacks by Mrs. Grace Mugabe on Vice President Mujuru.
The party’s Central Committee will meet Wednesday to complete the purging of Mrs. Mujuru’s allies when it votes to give Mr. Mugabe powers to appoint his deputies and party chairman. The party conflict is also now drawing in the securocrats.
Gomwe accuses some senior police officials of being sympathetic to Mrs. Mujuru resulting in them failing to arrest her and her allies.
But the police and the attorney general insist that no-one has registered a complaint against the alleged coup plotters.
Those aligned to Mrs. Mujuru fear that her security at the congress is not guaranteed. Her vocal backer, ousted party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the decision to attend or boycott the congress rests with Mrs. Mujuru.
Also looking on as events unfold in Zanu-PF are many American officials. Johny Carson, a former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said President Mugabe has been consistent in his control of Zanu-PF.
He said he is not puzzled by the unfolding events in Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe.