First Lady Grace Mugabe on Friday tore into a Zanu PF faction allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa calling itself Team Lacoste as factionalism continues to ravage the ruling party.
Indications are that the first family appears to be in panic mode.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Kanyemba School in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central Province, Mrs. Mugabe said President Robert Mugabe is not happy with growing factionalism in his party.
Mrs. Mugabe took a swipe at Team Lacoste, a Zanu PF faction allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying the camp is fueling divisions in the fractious ruling party.
Mngangagwa is reportedly angling himself to succeed President Mugabe when he eventually leaves office while the First Lady, who allegedly leads a group calling itself Generation 40 or G40, today said she is concerned about people linking her to the group.
Mrs. Mugabe told supporters – without mentioning names - that some people in Zanu PF have too much zeal for power in such a way that they now want to remove President Mugabe from his position even through illegal means.
She warned that such people would be expelled from the ruling party. She openly defended Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo, who has been trading barbs with presidential spokesperson George Charamba on social networking sites over Mr. Mugabe’s succession question.
The first lady said she was aware that the recent bombing attempt on her dairy project was engineered by some unnamed Zanu PF stalwarts, who want to be at the helm of the country’s leadership.
Mrs. Mugabe reiterated that her husband would be the Zanu PF presidential candidate in the 2018 elections saying he is the only person who can ensure that there is peace in the country.
She added that President Mugabe has lost confidence in some of the people that he was touting as his successors, warning that votes of no confidence would be soon be passed on these people.
Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Mnangagwa, who was said to be busy attending state business. Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who attended today’s rally, said he was
not happy with some Zanu PF leaders that are pushing the tribal card as the race to succeed Mr. Mugabe intensifies.
At the same time, Mrs. Mugabe also warned Zanu PF to be on high alert as the People First movement, which would be allegedly led by former vice president Joice Mujuru, is making in-roads countrywide.
Mrs. Mujuru was expelled from Zanu PF ahead of the ruling party’s 2014 congress on allegations of plotting to assassinate Mr. Mugabe. The former deputy, however, has dismissed these allegations as completely fabricated to tarnish her image.
Speaking at the same rally, Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also the ruling party’s secretary for the commissariat, told the rally he was prepared to die in the defense of Mr. Mugabe.
Kasukuwere also warned the party’s provincial chairpersons in Midlands, Mashonaland East and
Masvingo, where violence reared its ugly head ahead of the explosive Zanu PF politburo meeting held on Wednesday, that they would be expelled from Zanu PF for allegedly sabotaging the president and bringing the name of the ruling party into disrepute.
Some political analysts told Studio 7 that first lady’s remarks Friday, indicate that it would not be so long before Mr. Mugabe reshuffles the presidium and cabinet.
The First Lady, who started a relationship with the head of state when the late First Lady Sally Mugabe was on her death bed, stunned supporters when she said she was not a woman of easy virtue.
Mrs. Mugabe also called for a non-partisan process in the distribution of food aid saying hunger knows no politics. This comes at a time when supporters of the MDC led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai have been accusing authorities of denying them aid as the El Nino-induced drought ravages the country. The first lady said the Chinese will provide money for the construction of a new house of parliament in Mt Hampden just outside Harare and criticized some legislators who were bunking parliament.
The controversial first lady took the opportunity to distribute food supplies, farming equipment, computers and clothing, among other goods.