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Minister Ousted as Zanu PF MP Faces Charges of Insulting Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe addresses party supporters at a rally in Harare, Thursday, Nov. 19. 2015
Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe addresses party supporters at a rally in Harare, Thursday, Nov. 19. 2015

A Zanu PF provincial committee has passed a vote of no confidence in War Veterans Minister, Chris Mutsvangwa, recommending that he should be expelled from the ruling party and parliament following allegations that he insulted President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, undermined the president and was promoting factionalism.

The move comes barely three days after Mr. Mugabe appealed to members of his party to refrain from passing votes of no confidence against perceived enemies.

This political strategy was used to oust former Vice President Joice Mujuru and several others for allegedly attempting to topple the president. They have already dismissed these allegations as baseless.

According to state-controlled media, Mutsvangwa, who is the Zanu PF Member of Parliament for Norton, is accused of also undermining the authority of the president by questioning the appointment of current party political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

Mutsvangwa told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that he is aware of what the president said at the People’s Conference about votes of no confidence and respected “his views on this issue.” He did not elaborate.

Zanu PF members are engaged in bitter fights over the succession of 91 year-old Mr. Mugabe despite the party reaffirming its position at a Saturday conference in Victoria Falls, Matabeleland North province, to field him in the 2018 presidential election.

By that time, the president will be 94 years old, an age critics say is too advanced to allow him to participate in any credible election. But his supporters say he can be elected even if he is confined to a wheelchair due to old age.

His wife recently said she will be pushing him to rallies and polling stations if old age relegates the president to a wheelchair.

Factions allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mrs. Mugabe are reportedly attempting to take control of the party.

Mr. Mugabe has been of late been stumbling and once fell at Harare International Airport after returning from a trip in Ethiopia. His handlers said he broke the fall but photographs pointed something to the contrary as he was pictured almost on fours on the red carpet.

Meanwhile, another senior Zanu PF official and legislator has been arrested and brought before the courts for allegedly insulting the first lady.

Gokwe Nembudziya lawmaker, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, allegedly uttered unpleasant remarks about Mrs. Mugabe at the just-ended Zanu PF People’s Conference.

Wadyajena, who is Mnangagwa’s ally, also passed similar remarks about members of the party that are normally hanging around the first lady.

He is in a faction that is against the so-called Generation 40 composed mainly of Young Turks fronting Mrs. Mugabe as a candidate to succeed her husband.