via Grace under the spotlight – DailyNews Live 5 March 2015
HARARE – In line with recent goings-on in Zanu PF, President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, is almost inevitably at the heart of the High Court case that has been launched against the ruling party and the nonagenarian by disaffected senior members of the former liberation movement.
Former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and ruling party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo claim in their court application that Grace’s entrance into formal Zanu PF politics last year not only destabilised the party, but also allegedly left a trail of destruction. In the much anticipated application filed on Tuesday afternoon, the two liberation struggle stalwarts are seeking to nullify Zanu PF’s disputed congress that was held in Harare in December last year, as well as all the party’s resolutions that came out of that congress.
But almost predictably, the two men blame Grace for most of the confusion that rocked the party leading to the disputed congress.
Mutasa and Gumbo claim in their affidavits that Grace sowed the seeds of anarchy that consumed the party then, leading to the brutal purging of several bigwigs including former vice president Joice Mujuru and all party officials perceived to be aligned to her.
“I therefore contend that once the siege of hate speech was unleashed by the First Lady (Dr) Grace Mugabe against Joice Mujuru and her camp, the party was never the same. There was carnage in the party resulting in the total extermination by hook and crook of all those perceived to belong to that camp.
“…once she had so entered, a major shift occurred in the party. (Mrs) Mugabe unleashed hatred, disrespect, malice, slander and defamation which Zanu PF had never experienced, even from opponents in opposition politics.
“There was no limit, no elasticity, and no boundaries with regards to the verbiage and diatribe that came from the first lady,” Mutasa said in his affidavit.
He further claimed that Grace’s actions had been made worse by the biased media coverage that she had received from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and State-owned newspapers.
“I myself became a specific target and was given the obscene name ‘gamatox’,” he said, adding that he was also falsely accused of attempting to assassinate Mugabe.
“All these allegations were baseless but the net result was that, an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, duress and hatred was created in the party, long before the congress,” Mutasa said.
On the other hand, Gumbo argued that Grace had left “a trail of destruction” after she embarked on her countrywide “Meet the people” tour, which had followed her nomination to lead the women’s league.
“The entry of Amai Grace Mugabe into the political scene became a serious source of conflict. During her tour of the provinces, Amai Grace Mugabe left a trail of destruction,” Gumbo said.
Gumbo said during the tour, Grace had torn into Mujuru using “crude and foul language”.
“Her tour in a helicopter and the publicity given was unprecedented and was a clear indication that she had the blessing of her husband.
“No discussion of Amai Mugabe’s vicious attacks on Amai Mujuru and other people perceived to be on her side took place in the politburo, except some muted comments about her undignified behaviour as the first lady of the country.
“From the debate that transpired, it became clear that there was no love lost between the President and Mai Mujuru and others … the president had made up his mind that he no longer trusted Mai Mujuru.
“This was compounded by Amai Mugabe with her baby dumping mantra,” Gumbo said.
Mutasa and Gumbo, who are represented by lawyers from Nyakutombwa and Mugabe Legal Practitioners, told the court that in the preceding politburo meetings of the ruling party, nothing had been discussed pertaining to Grace’s “corrosive and poisoned rallies”.
Gumbo said most of the politburo and central committee members only got to know about her interest in politics when it was announced on TV that her predecessor Oppah Muchinguri was handing over the women’s league leadership to Grace.
“Muchinguri’s relinquishing of her post to Amai Grace Mugabe was done without full consultation with the women’s league.
“Only the women’s league as an organ has the authority to recommend the nomination of a candidate for the post of secretary for women’s affairs and not an individual,” Gumbo said.