Mugabe nephew causing him headaches
By Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – Patrick Zhuwao, President Robert Mugabe’s nephew has in the past few weeks been causing headaches to his 90-year-old uncle through his controversial involvement in the bitter Zanu PF succession dogfights.
The 90-year-old Zimbabwean leader is reportedly unhappy with Zhuwao’s conduct in using his name for the deadly factional fights pitting camps reportedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Recently, Zhuwao published in the State media, a controversial opinion piece claiming that Mugabe faced a palace coup in Zanu PF while last week, his wife beat up the party’s Mashonaland West chairman Temba Mliswa.
Sources told the Daily News on Sunday that Mugabe expressed “utter shock and anguish” at the attacks on Mliswa by his nephew’s wife.
During a top government meeting in Harare last week, Mugabe reportedly questioned why Zhuwao’s wife Beauty was cast as the victim in the State media when she was the one who had jumped on Mliswa.
There was large-scale outrage and disbelief in Zanu PF over the stand-off between Zhuwao’s wife and Mliswa, who restrained himself from retaliating.
“The president was angry with the way his relatives are abusing his name and he asked the Media minister Jonathan Moyo why the State media was casting Mliswa as the violator when he was the victim,” said a highly-placed government source.
Moyo reportedly offered an unconditional apology for the State media reportage, according to sources.
Mliswa’s assault soon became viral on the net, and criticism flew thick and fast, embarrassing the nation’s first family.
Soon, Mugabe stepped forward to undo the damage. In the Tuesday meeting, he is said to have said he was quite surprised and disappointed with what Zhuwao’s wife did and apologised on her behalf, according to government sources.
“He expressed utter shock and anguish and called on the State media to report facts accurately,” our source added.
To a query as to whether Zhuwao should apologise, he reportedly said not only as a President’s nephew, but as any sensitive man, he should not have allowed that kind of confrontation.
“He said ‘forget about being a political leader, it shows a certain degree of insensitivity… My family is not like that’,” our source said.
Mugabe reportedly disagrees with Zhuwao’s view that Zanu PF faced a palace coup.
Mugabe’s relatives, led by Zhuwao, have been throwing aspersions on virtually everyone, including top Zanu PF leaders such as party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo.
In the controversial opinion piece, Zhuwao warned that factional conflict and strife can escalate to levels that may cause fissures in the organisation that, in turn, may cause a palace coup.
Zhuwao, using his close ties with the first family, has been seen as one of the brains behind Grace’s mercurial rise in Zanu PF, where she has been nominated to be the Women’s League boss.
He is reportedly part of a grouping dubbed Mazoe Crush, which also includes his wife, Oppah Muchinguri, the outgoing Women’s League boss, and several politburo members.
Chairpersons perceived to be loyal to Joice Mujuru have been the biggest casualties of a seemingly calculated smear campaign. They have been cast as opposed to Grace’s rise.
And on Monday before he was beaten up, Mliswa had cast doubts on Zhuwao’s sincerity to stand by his uncle in his hour of need.
Mugabe’s handling of the unfolding crisis has also seen many questioning his leadership qualities as he is seemingly failing to steadily steer the ship through murky waters.
Margaret Dongo, a former Zanu PF legislator, who is now a fierce critic of the ruling party, said Mugabe has lost control because he has chosen to be put in the pockets of a certain faction.
The recent entry into mainstream politics by Mugabe’s wife Grace has angered many in the ruling party amid fears that the nonagenarian is now siding with a particular grouping that is angling to succeed him.
“The president should realise that once you are a leader, you do not have to side with any faction,” Dongo said.
“Now, no one can listen to him because he has chosen a side.”
Torn between the two factions, Zanu PF has been weakened by unprecedented infighting that has played out in the media in recent days. Daily News