WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe, stirred up more controversy, Monday, during her stop in Matabeleland South province, as part of her “Meet the People,” tour.
Speaking at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda, the first lady urged appeared to be calling for a revision of the party’s constitution, when she urged her husband, President Robert Mugabe, to appoint loyal vice presidents rather than the process of election, at the party’s elective congress.
Taking a swipe at the current vice president, Joyce Mujuru, who is said to lead a faction that is pushing for Mr. Mugabe’s ouster, Mrs. Mugabe, said “some think because if you are vice president you just stay there and do nothing while Mugabe works for you. We want a vice president who helps the president not just one who piggy backs on Mugabe’s back.”
Mrs. Mugabe also expressed serious concern with factionalism in the party and criticized some leaders for failing to address the deepening crisis.
The first lady further called for the empowerment of women, saying she was concerned by the breakdown of the family unit due to the problems of economic migration to neighbouring countries.
The faction said to be opposed to Mrs. Mujuru, led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa, which the first lady reportedly supports, is hailing her as a rising star and officials from the group have been said to be helping in organizing her rallies.
But the rival faction led by Mrs. Mujuru is said to be livid calling her a “rhetoric bomb thrower.”
But Monday’s meeting was attended by leaders from both the factions including party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, who is said to be in the Mujuru camp, and outgoing Women’s League secretary Oppah Muchinguri of the Mnangagwa camp.
Political analyst Briggs Bomba of Trust Africa said Mrs. Mugabe is setting her goals higher.
But Zanu-PF chairman for the United Kingdom province, Nick Mangwana, said Mrs. Mugabe is a product of the people who invited her into fulltime politics.