By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, February 17, 2016 – PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s dictatorial handling of party affairs and apparent refusal to restrain his wife from abusing senior party leaders now face resistance from party loyalists who have vowed to “save Zanu PF”.
It has emerged that internal party wars which the veteran leader has for years managed to contain through a combination of force and patronage could soon spiral out of his control after party youths loyal to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed Tuesday to challenge what they find to be Mugabe’s attempts to prop up a party faction fronted by the First Lady, Grace at the expense of his embattled deputy.
The youths have since initiated a “Save Zanu PF campaign” and have lost no time in telling Mugabe to keep his garrulous wife under a firm leash.
The controversial First Lady has since resumed her nationwide rallies, her recent one being in Mazowe, where she accused Mnangagwa of plotting a silent coup against her husband.
She declared in Mazowe she will soon name and shame “factionalists” who want to take power from Mugabe.
But former Mashonaland Central Zanu PF Youth League Chairperson and now national coordinator for the so-called “Save Zanu PF campaign”, Godfrey Tsenengamu said it was time Mugabe came out clean on his wife’s real interests.
“We have noted that some close to you in your social life including your wife Dr Grace Mugabe, her so called allies in the party and some in government seem to have hatched an evil plan to destroy the party which you have so much nurtured and protected and they are committed to that project and want to see its fruition,” the youths said in statement delivered at a press conference in Harare on Tuesday.
The youths were referring to the so-called Generation 40 which comprises hawkish party politicians Saviour Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao who hall all rallied behind what seems like a Grace ambition to succeed her near 92 year old husband.
They were adamant Tuesday that Zanu PF had become a pale shadow of its former self and had lost discipline.
“In our strongest view Your Excellency, Zanu PF has become a shadow of its former self and an enemy to its very existence as there seems to be more time for counter-revolutionary fights than productive agendas which may help in the party and national cause as here we now have a senior party leaders continue to defy you in broad day light and this is sending a very wrong signal to the general members and juniors in the party.”
The youths also claimed their stance was being backed by Zanu PF affiliate groups, among the Zimbabwe Congress of Students, Youth in Farming and the National Youth Service Graduates.
People who were part of the group included youth chairpersons from all the country’s ten provinces.
“Cde President we plead with you to rein and restrain our most respected mother, your wife DR Grace Mugabe for the good of the party, your legacy, unity and for her own good as a politician,” they said.
They also said that Grace Mugabe was lucky to be the wife of the President saying if she had been just an ordinary politician within the beleaguered party, her fate would have been sealed by now.
“It is important to point out that had she been just a politician and not being your wife we could have by now confronted her and stopped her right in her tracks,” they said.
“We do not intend to say much on this subject your Excellency but she must be advised to stop abusing the respect and loyalty that we have for you as our party President and continues to use that cover to advance her interests.”
Grace has denied claims she wanted to succeed her husband but if events of the past few months are anything to go by, she could after all be plotting to elbow out Mnangagwa from the Presidential race.
If she succeeds, Mnangagwa would be the second sitting VP to be ousted in similar fashion after Joice Mujuru in 2014 suffered the same misfortune under Mugabe’s hawkish wife, who is also Zanu PF Women’s League boss.
But a Mnangagwa ouster seems to be a mission way too tough to accomplish after war veterans aligned to the VP have also vowed to go down fighting.