Zimbabwe – A Zanu PF faction linked to First Lady Grace Mugabe has “endorsed” her as President Robert Mugabe’s heir apparent, NewsDay has learnt. In the latest twist in the party’s succession war some party members have vowed to ensure her political rise.
In a widely circulating video recorded by businessman Phillip Chiyangwa in Chimanimani on Thursday, the faction members also insisted that everyone — including war veterans, war collaborators and youths — should rally behind the First Lady, in probably the clearest sign Grace was aiming for the Presidency.
The video — shot during Grace’s Chimanimani rally on Thursday — showed officials loyal to her openly saying no one should stop her from rising to power either as President or Vice-President.
Zanu PF Manicaland deputy youth chairperson Mubuso Chinguno is heard in the video arguing that everyone should rally behind Grace.
He claimed even those perceived to be loyal to a faction linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa supported Grace.
Chinguno, who was in the company of the shadow MP for Hatfield, Acie Lumumba, Chikanga-Dangamvura MP Esau Mupfumi and Chiyangwa, among others, said although he was initially “Gamatox” (a Zanu PF faction led by ousted former VP Joice Mujuru), he was convinced to convert and follow “Amai”.
He said Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, a known Mnangagwa ally, was one of the key people, who pushed for Grace’s rise, even advocating she be given the Vice-Presidency ahead of the 2014 Zanu congress.
“Wadyajena is on record saying Amai should be Vice-President. It’s there. Wadyajena, every weekend, would go to Gokwe-Nembudziya praising Amai,” he said.
“Even people like [Godfrey] Tsenengamu would stand on drums supporting Amai, even [Edmore] Samambwa [Midlands youth chairperson] would do the same, but if Mubuso says so, it’s bad now and we want him out of the party. Then who should we follow? Wadyajena is on record saying with her doctorate, the sky is the limit for Amai, she could even rise to become VP.”
Chinguno, donning a T-shirt describing Grace as “unconquerable”, said it was a no-brainer that the First Lady should succeed Mugabe, as her perceived competitors for the Presidency had also pushed for her rise.
“For us to know Amai is good, it is because of Mnangagwa, it is because of Oppah Muchinguri, who was by Amai’s side.”
Lumumba then cynically asks: “So Wadyajena likes Amai?”
Chiyangwa concluded the video by saying: “This is PC, king of selfies, sitting in a conversation here in Chimanimani, you heard it for yourselves.”
In the run-up to last December’s Zanu PF congress, Chiyangwa also recorded a similar video calling for Mujuru to resign and his latest move could be an indication that Grace’s succession plans were gaining traction.
Wadyajena confirmed having watched the video, but declined to comment on the matter yesterday.
Zanu PF is divided along factional lines with loyalists linked to Grace, running under the G40 banner pulling all the stops to block Mnangagwa from what many believe was a certain takeover from Mugabe.