First Lady Grace Mugabe on Friday took her meet the people tour to Mataga Business Center in Mberengwa in the Midlands Province, seeking to distance herself from allegations that she wants to usurp the powers of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This follows reports that some Zanu PF provinces led by Mashonaland West, were pushing for the elevation of Mrs. Mugabe, the current women’s league boss, to the position of vice president.
Mrs. Mugabe told party supporters at the rally she actually prefers to be led by Mnangagwa, adding her aging husband deserved respect for suffering for Zimbabwe for years, dating back to the war of liberation struggle.
“Have you ever had me standing in for the President when he’s away on business?” she asked her supporters. “I have no ambitions to take power from him, should he get sick, the constitution says one of the vice presidents would take over.”
She took a swipe at opposition parties in the country, in particular the Tsvangirai MDC and former Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, now of the People First project.
The First Lady charged that Tsvangirai’s MDC was created by the West, adding he would never be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.
“Sanctions, which really pained us, were imposed on us because of Tsvangirai and you all know it,” said Mrs. Mugabe. “And we are going to do all we can to make sure that we block him from ever running this country.”
She also described Gumbo as a ‘traitor’ who is moving around with cash and allegedly bribing people to join the People First outfit.
Mrs. Mugabe donated the controversial government tractors, sourced through a loan agreement with Brazil.
She also donated an assortment of food stuffs to the people of Midlands though some had left as they could not withstand the scotching heat.
Vice presidents Phelekezela Mphoko and Mnangagwa were also at the rally.
Mrs. Mugabe, who’s never far away from controversy, castigated women who wear miniskirts saying they should accept blame if sexually abused.
The meeting was not short of drama with Mphoko taking exception to his surname being pronounced Mboko by the Zanu PF acting Midlands’ chair, Kizito Chivamba.
The deputy president said it is offensive and dehumanizing when people failed to pronounce his name.
Commenting on comments by the First Lady about the origins of the MDC and sanctions imposed on Harare, allegedly at the behest of the workers’ party, MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said the allegations were unfounded.
“Those allegations are spurious, they are unfounded, they are malicious. They are being made by a person of a very spurious mindset and obviously they ought to be dismissed with the contempt that they rightly deserve,” said Gutu.
“The MDC is a homegrown political party, formed by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans and for Grace Mugabe to go on that kind of tirade, labelling us a foreign-created political party, it just shows the depth to which that woman can go down in terms of lack of maturity and motherly affection and care, one might say.”
Rugare Gumbo first laughed but took exception to the remarks by the First Lady that he is bribing people and that he is a traitor.
“I don’t think really it would be fair to make a comment about the things that the First Lady made,” said Gumbo.
“I think it would be glorifying or dignifying some of the unfortunate ignorance about the history of the struggle of Zimbabwe and my role in Zimbabwe. All I can say is that Zimbabweans are dealing with a psychotic case which needs really solving. It’s not for me to say how. It’s an unfortunate really.”
The First Lady takes her tour to Murehwa Center in Mashonaland East Saturday.