via First Lady’s China trip raises stink – DailyNews Live 21 October 2015 by Bridget Mananavire and Mugove Tafirenyika
HARARE – First Lady Grace Mugabe’s current visit to China has raised a stink within the bitterly-divided post-congress Zanu PF, with her party foes suggesting that the trip is allegedly meant to fundraise for her bid to take over from her frail nonagenarian husband, President Robert Mugabe.
Well-placed sources told the Daily News yesterday that eyebrows were raised when Grace dropped Zanu PF women’s league top official Monica Mutsvangwa and others perceived to be allies of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa from her huge entourage, taking with her only those seen as supportive of her much-talked about presidential bid.
The invitation to China to the Zanu PF women’s league was made by the president of the All-China Women’s Federation, Shen Yueyue, according to the Chinese Embassy in Harare, which publicised the trip on its website.
“H.E. Grace Mugabe, first lady of Zimbabwe and secretary of women’s affairs of Zanu PF, departed for a friendly visit to China at the invitation of Ms. Shen Yueyue, President of the All-China Women’s Federation.
“Ambassador Huang Ping and Madame Zhang Aiping saw off H.E. Grace Mugabe at Harare International Airport.
“Ambassador Huang said that this was the first delegation from Zanu PF women’s league to visit China since H.E. Grace Mugabe took office as secretary of women’s affairs of Zanu PF. Ambassador Huang wished the delegation a pleasant journey and the visit a great success.
“The first lady said that Zanu PF women’s league and All-China Women’s Federation are close sisters. She believed that through this visit, the two sides would lift the existing friendly cooperative relations to a new high,” the embassy said in a statement.
But insiders said yesterday that the controversial first lady, who is being touted as a possible successor to her 91-year-old husband, was using the invitation to build a war chest for that possibility.
They said while she was visiting China in her capacity as women’s league boss, Grace was also apparently seeking to use the invitation to meet China’s first lady, Peng Liyuan, to seek funding for both the league and her divisive nationwide rallies which she used to attack her political rivals.
Peng is currently in the United Kingdom with her husband, President Xi Jinping, who is on a State visit there.
Making part of Grace’s entourage to China are Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka, who is infamous for coining the slogan “Pasi nevanoti Eve haatongi (to hell with those opposed to Grace’s ascendancy), and Manicaland Provincial minister Mandi Chimene, among many of her sidekicks.
A women’s league official who travelled with Grace at the weekend revealed to the Daily News just before boarding her plane that they were not taking “Mnangagwa’s people to China”. “The first lady has made sure that Monica does not travel because she is a Mnangagwa ally together with her husband. If she comes with us, she will reveal why we are going there because we will not tell anyone about the private meetings we are going to hold there.
“We also hope to meet the Chinese first lady, Peng Liyuan for private discussions,” the official said on Mutsvangwa, who is the women’s league national spokesperson and a close ally of Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri.
Her husband, War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, recently vowed that the country’s former freedom fighters were ready to deal with Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (G40) group that is allegedly led by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, and which opposes Mnangagwa and works closely with Grace.