via Anti-Mutasa chants erupt at Grace rally NewsDay Zimbabwe October 15, 2014
MEDIA, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday sprang to the defence of First Lady Grace Mugabe, denying that she had called for the ouster of Vice-President Joice Mujuru during her Monday rally in Gwanda.
Moyo told a select few reporters in Lupane on the sidelines of Grace’s “Meet the People Tour” that the First Lady was merely spelling out qualities required of a Vice-President.
The First Lady’s speech and those of senior Zanu PF officials yesterday were punctuated with chants of “down with Gamatox”, in apparent reference to the party’s secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.
Mutasa infamously said Mugabe should use Gamatox, the trade name of a powerful pesticide, to rid the party of weevils that had infiltrated the party.
Moyo said the assertions that Grace wanted Mujuru sacked were “mischievous” and calculated at “raising dust”.
“There are screaming headlines in some newspapers today (yesterday) which are claiming
that at her address in Gwanda, the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe called for the ouster of Vice-President Dr Joice Mujuru,” Moyo said.
“Dr Mugabe never said anything of the sort. This is some fertile imaginations of some people.”
In her address, Grace insinuated that President Robert Mugabe should appoint Vice-Presidents and not have people who piggybacked on him, yet they were not working, in apparent reference to Mujuru.
Grace’s sentiments literally laid bare the infighting within Zanu PF, raising the stakes as the party heads to its crucial elective congress in December.
“She was addressing qualities that a Vice-President and second secretary of Zanu PF should have,” Moyo said in her defence.
“No name was mentioned and just because we have one Vice-President, it does not mean she was referring to her.
“Now that we are going to be selecting a Vice-President, it was more about the office and not the occupant, the past or the present, but the office as it relates to aspiring vice-presidents.”
6 000 supporters at Phelandaba Stadium in Gwanda in her sixth provincial meeting, Grace — without mentioning Mujuru by name — said there was no one in Zanu PF permanently guaranteed a post in the party.
“Some think because you are Vice-President you just stay there and do nothing while Mugabe works for you,” she said.
“We want a Vice-President who helps the President, not just one who relies on Mugabe.
“We no longer want that. We want people who are capable.
“You mustn’t think because you have a post you are there forever. You must work for it.”
Meanwhile, the First Lady yesterday attacked senior male Zanu PF leaders for jostling for the vacant Vice-President post, saying the divisive spirit risked tearing the party apart, and those fingered were an embarrassment.
Grace said male politicians should desist from the culture of infighting, as this showed political immaturity.
The First Lady said as a new politician, there was nothing to learn from male party members, as she preferred to start from scratch rather than copy her feuding colleagues.
“What you are teaching us is bad, I will rather start afresh in politics,” she declared.
“When we are in Matabeleland, we remember the great man, the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo who was passionate about unity.
“He left the 1987 Unity Accord intact.”
At least five top Zanu PF members have declared their interest in the vacant Vice-Presidency, with national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo heavily tipped to land it during the Zanu PF December elective congress.
But Grace said the conduct of the former Zapu leaders jostling for the top post were an embarrassment and were not setting a good example.
“That agreement (Unity Accord) made provisions for one Vice-President from PF Zapu, with guidelines on who should occupy that seat,” she said.
“But now anybody who thinks they can be VP is saying I want the post and we have five men now.
“That is bad. That spirit might catch up with the Women’s League.”
The First Lady accused those vying for the post, who include Khaya Moyo, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, former Ambassador to South Africa Phekezela Mphoko, former Zipra stalwart Ambrose Mutinhiri and Senator Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu, of sowing confusion within the party.
“All people vying for the post are senior people and what are they teaching us who are new in politics?” an agitated Grace charged.
“It’s causing confusion among members and it must stop.”
Grace said Joshua Nkomo could be turning in his grave due to the incessant infighting and jostling for top posts.
The contestants, she said, should come up with a collective agreement on the preferred candidate and direct more of their energy into creating employment opportunities.
Turning to the economy, she called for patience from Zimbabweans with Zanu PF, as implementing election campaign pledges was not an overnight thing.
She said with help from “our friends the Chinese and Russians”, the government was going to turn around the economy and implement the fit-all economic policy, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, advising people against street protests, which the main opposition MDC-T has called for.
“The government just got the mandate to rule last year and some people are calling for street protests, what for?” she queried.
Grace said her husband, Mugabe, was a brave man and not a quitter, having fought for the liberation of the country.
Grace rounds up her Matabeleland leg of the rallies in Bulawayo today.