via Grace resumes rallies amid tension – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 12, 2016
FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe today resumes her rallies to mobilise support for the heavily-divided Zanu PF, serving up the latest chapter in the party’s intriguing factional battles, with speculation she will push for the return of the women’s quota, which should see a woman being appointed Vice-President.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Thousands of Zanu PF supporters are expected to attend the Mazowe South rally today, local legislator Fortune Chasi confirmed yesterday.
“It’s just the First Lady coming to meet the people in Mazowe South constituency,” he said.
“She is in my constituency. She will be coming to understand the issues affecting the community at Kanyemba Secondary School.”
Hurungwe East MP and Women’s League finance secretary Sarah Mahoka, who is believed to be organising the function, declined to give details of the rally.
But sources, who declined to be named, said Grace would try to pacify the rival party factions.
“A lot of things are happening now and seeing that this is her first rally, a lot is expected, particularly on the deep-rooted factionalism that is threatening to tear the party apart,” a senior member of the Women’s League said.
Zanu PF is now divided into two distinct factions, with one of them, dubbed Generation-40 (G40), reportedly aligned to Grace, and the other one linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
But both the First Lady and Mnangagwa have denied any links to any factions.
The Women’s League has been vocal in campaigning that at least one VP post be reserved for them and speculation is rife they are gunning for Mnangagwa’s post.
The rally follows the public undressing of Mnangagwa by Mahoka, who demanded he be open about his presidential ambitions, which his supporters were flaunting, yet he remained quiet.
Mnangagwa’s allies have reacted angrily to the jibe, demanding Mahoka be dragged to a disciplinary committee and this backdrop heightens tensions ahead of today’s meeting.
Suspended Mashonaland Central Zanu PF youth league boss Godfrey Tsenengamu said Mahoka violated the party’s constitution by issuing threats against the VP.
“It is our strongest view that Mahoka ought to be brought before the disciplinary processes of the party for insulting, disrespecting and undermining senior party leadership and fanning divisions and factionalism in the party by chanting a mythical and factional slogan,” Tsenengamu, who is the national co-ordinator of the little-known Save Zanu PF Campaign, said.
He and many others have been suspended from the party for fanning factionalism, a byword for backing Mnangagwa.
After a spirited push in the politburo by the VP’s backers, the Wednesday meeting resolved to invite those facing the party chop for hearings, so their side of the story could be heard.
Several officials, including Women’s League spokesperson Monica Mutsvangwa and the league’s secretary for administration, Espinah Nhari, were purged in the build-up to the party’s annual conference last year.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed that the pending cases would be treated differently.
“The national disciplinary committee report is not yet completed and the cases before it will be heard by the said committee through some hearings from those affected,” he said.
“In other words, those affected will be called before the national disciplinary committee for presentation before the next politburo meeting.”
Previously, those accused of factionalism were axed without as much as a hearing.