via Grace, Oppah clash over influence – DailyNews Live 21 July 2015
HARARE – As Zanu PF’s deadly factional and succession wars get nastier and more confused, First Lady Grace Mugabe and Water minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri are apparently now locked in a bitter battle that is dividing Manicaland province and the ruling party’s women’s league down the middle.
Sources within the party also claimed yesterday that the war between the two ladies had recently witnessed many spouses of senior Zanu PF officials allegedly trooping to the multi-million dollar business hub of President Robert Mugabe’s wife in Mazowe, “in a bid to try and knock some sense into her”.
Apparently, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife, Auxilia, had led a Midlands women’s league delegation to Mazowe last week, where it appeared that the intention was to de-campaign Gweru businesswoman Smelly Dube, who is allegedly linked to the first lady and the ambitious party Young Turks who are known as the Generation 40 (G40) group.
“The delegations talked bad about Dube and claimed that she was the one fuelling factionalism in Midlands. They also accused Dube of using her financial muscle to cause division amongst Women’s League members.
“However, Amai (Grace) refused to entertain those allegations and instructed the women to work together. Amai also questioned why they were talking about Dube in her absence, saying allegations should always be dealt with when all parties are available.
“It’s unfortunate for Mai Mnangagwa and her team because they did not get what they wanted,” one of the sources said.
Mnangagwa’s wife declined to comment about the matter yesterday saying, “Zanu PF has structures. Please may you look for the provincial chair or spokesperson for women. I do not know about that issue”.
Dube was unavailable for comment.
In the meantime, and amid this confusion, it also emerged yesterday that the party’s Youth League was seeking a meeting with Grace to complain about Muchinguri-Kashiri’s “nefarious activities” in Manicaland — where the Water minister is in a bruising fight with regional leaders over who is in control of the province.
This is despite the fact that Grace, Muchinguri-Kashiri and the G40 worked tirelessly together last year to decapitate former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies.
But no sooner had Mujuru been vanquished than cracks emerged, with Muchinguri-Kashiri and the Young Turks eventually falling out.
The Water minister is now said to have cut her ties with the G40’s brains trust, the so-called Gang of Four, choosing instead to throw in her lot with Mnangagwa’s camp, while Grace and the G40 are allegedly on the other side.
Last week, the Daily News reported that Grace and Mnangagwa’s relationship was unravelling, and that she was now working hand in glove with the G40.
Zanu PF insiders said that a number of developments over the past few weeks suggested that the pact between Grace and Mnangagwa, which had been witnessed when they worked together to annihilate Mujuru and her allies, “is now on shaky grounds”.
One of the well-placed sources said it was clear that all was not well between the two, particularly as it became more evident that “Dr Amai (Grace) could be priming herself for the ultimate post, rather than assist Ngwena (Mnangagwa) to get there”.