Mavambo Kusile Dawn party leader, Mr. Simba Makoni, has challenged President Robert Mugabe to come clean on his wife’s public statements in which she has attacked perceived rivals ahead of Zanu PF’s elective congress in December and take appropriate action since he appoints all ministers.
Addressing a press conference in Harare on Tuesday, Makoni accused First Lady Grace Mugabe of straying into the territory of the head of state by making negative assessments of the competence and performance of government ministers as well as re-defining the attributes and functions of the office of the vice president.
The first lady recently alleged that Vice President Joice Mujuru is corrupt and should be “baby dumped” at the forthcoming elective congress in which she is assured of landing the powerful post of secretary of the party’s Women’s League.
Mrs. Mugabe linked Mrs. Mujuru, whose husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru, died in a mysterious inferno at his farm about two years ago, to irregularities in the mining of diamonds in Zimbabwe.
The vice president is said to habour presidential ambitions together with her suspected bitter rival, Justice Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two have already dismissed allegations that they want to succeed 90-year-old President Mugabe.
Makoni noted that the first lady’s recent ‘Meet the People’ tour and entrance into the political arena has left the Zanu PF government destabilized with more emphasis now being put on gaining or maintaining political office than solving the country’s economic and other problems.
The former finance minister said Zanu PF and the nation should resist what he believes are attempts by the First Family to create a Mugabe dynasty in the country.
Makoni told the press conference that while Mrs. Mugabe is the wife of the Head of State and Government of Zimbabwe, she is not a state functionary and did not deserve huge state logistical, security, communications and resources deployed in her service.
Mrs. Mugabe, who’s expected to take over the leadership of the Zanu PF women’s wing at the party’s December congress, on Friday held her last meet the people rally in Marondera after addressing meetings in all the country’s provinces.
Before the tour all roads were leading to her Mazowe farm with activists, including church leaders, apparently being summoned to endorse her nomination publicly.
Makoni expressed concern at Mrs. Mugabe’s attack on Vice President Mujuru and senior party officials saying this was unprofessional, adding by doing so she was showing her disrespect of the people of Zimbabwe.
He said though he was related to the late General Mujuru, utterances by Mrs. Mugabe at one of the rallies that political parties like Mavambo and the Movement for Democratic Change were formed at the Mujurus’ house were false.
Makoni further said the huge resources used during Mrs. Mugabe’s meetings and rallies should have been used to alleviate hardships being encountered by millions of Zimbabweans every day.
The meetings, he said, had paralyzed government as ministers, senior civil service and security chiefs attended the meetings which he said were not national but party events.
CHIEF VOTE BUYER
Makoni dismissed Mrs. Mugabe’s accusations that some senior Zanu PF officials were vote-buying ahead of the December elective congress, saying she is the chief vote-buyer as she has been handing food and agricultural inputs at her rallies, something he said has never done since she got married to President Mugabe.
He urged parliament to investigate ministers who were following the First Lady during her rallies as well as finding out whether state resources were not used to finance party activities.
The first lady officially takes over from Women’s Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri as leader of the Zanu PF Women’s Leagues at the December congress.
Speculation is rife that President Mugabe is positioning his wife to succeed him. Some political analysts think that Muchinguri is being lined up to replace Mrs. Mujuru, who has not responded to Mrs. Mugabe’s utterances about her alleged corruption, vote-buying and allegedly helping in the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change and Mavambo Kusile Dawn parties, among other issues.
Some analysts further charge that Mrs. Mugabe’s anger against the vice president is being caused by rumours in party circles and beyond over the succession of President Mugabe.