First Lady Grace Mugabe on Wednesday vowed to end factionalism that is tearing Zanu PF apart as she continues with her campaign trail to take over the leadership of the ruling party’s Women’s League at the party’s elective congress in December.
Thousands of Zanu PF supporters gathered at the City Sports Centre in Harare for the first lady’s “Meet the People” tour of all provinces ahead of Zanu PF’s elective congress set for December.
Mrs. Grace Mugabe was recently nominated by the party’s Women League to become the organ’s secretary – a key position that allows her to sit in the politburo, Zanu PF’s supreme decision making body between congresses.
As she enters the political fray at a time when the ruling party is sharply divided over President Robert Mugabe’s failure to deal with the succession question, the first lady wasted no time on the podium urging unity among the party’s warring factions.
She proceeded to call to the stage the party’s chairperson for Harare province, Amos Midzi, and provincial Youth League leader Godfrey Gomwe and pleaded with them in public to resolve their differences that resulted in violence in Mbare recently.
Mrs. Mugabe said factionalism in the party was being spearheaded by some seniors officials, adding that she received reports that there were some of the un-named officials who had mobilized people to demonstrate against her Wednesday.
She told the gathering that some of the placards were confiscated by law enforcement agents who provided security at the rally.
Meanwhile, the incumbent Women’s League secretary, Oppah Muchinguri, who has been part of the first lady’s campaign trail, said Mrs. Mugabe is the uniting factor in Zanu PF politics.
Muchinguri said President Robert Mugabe’s wife is geared to end factionalism in the ruling party.
Zanu PF is reportedly split into two factions battling to succeed President Mugabe. One camp is reportedly led by vice president Joice Mujru while the other one is linked to justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. However, the two leaders have denied leading any factions and have pledged their loyalty to Mr. Mugabe.
Meanwhile, the first lady took the opportunity to denounce the opposition Movement for Democratic Change saying the parties are to blame for the on-going house demolitions in Chitungwiza and Epworth.
Turning to planned mass protests by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, Mrs. Mugabe said she appreciates that ordinary people are not happy with the current economic situation and urged those in government to fulfill their election promises.
“I have told Tsvangirai that if you want to engage in street protests, you must first cause the lifting of sanctions that were imposed on us because they are causing people to suffer,” she said.
Mrs. Mugabe is this week expected to hold rallies in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces as part of her nationwide campaign to land the Women’s League’s top post.