Zanu PF youths clash at Grace Mugabe rally as factionalism worsens
By Blessing Zulu
Violence erupted for the second time in less than a week in First Lady Grace Mugabe’s meet the people tour as she moves to take over the leadership of the powerful Women’s League at the party’s elective congress in December.
Youths from opposing factions on Friday clashed over slogans, in Marondera, where Mrs. Mugabe was addressing her last rally.
The youth groups are said to belong to the factions backing Vice President Joyce Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has the support of Mrs, Mugabe.
President Robert Mugabe’s increasingly powerful wife continued to attack Mrs. Mujuru without mentinioning her name. On Thursday, Mrs. Mugabe threatened the vice president with expulsion from the ruling party if she did not repent from allegations levelled against her.
The first lady repeated her allegation that factionalism originated from Mashonaland Central province, home to the vice president.
FIRST LADY ATTACKS KAUKONDE
She also alleged that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was formed in the unnamed faction leader’s home. The first lady also alleged that the same factional leader was trying to force President Mugabe not to contest in the 2018 elections.
Mr. Mugabe is now 90 and uncertainty over his succession and concern over his age and failing health continue to divide the government.
Mrs. Mugabe also claimed she could speak in toungues, saying the media is free to interpet her speeches negatively or positively. She also took a swipe at Zanu-PF Mashonaland East chairman Ray Kaukonde for allegedly lying to her that there was no factionalism in Mashonaland East.
She also shocked the gathering when she said in 2008 she almost punched Kaukonde because of factionalism.
Reached for comment Kaukonde laughed off the remarks and promised to call back later which he had not done by the time we went on air.
Mrs. Mugabe’s speeches in the 10 rallies have left Zanu PF divided with analysts saying political temperatures are dangerously getting higher in the party.
Some party members are openly calling on the Vice President Mujuru to step down following Mrs. Mugabe’s speech. But the vice president and her team have not commented on the allegations.
Political analyst and former war veteran Bernard Manyadze told VOA Studio 7 that factionalism in the ruling party is now a threat to economic recovery.
$8 MILLION FOR PARTY CONGRESS
Meanwhile, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo also told VOA Studio 7 his party is seeking $8 million dollars to successfully host its December national congress.
Gumbo said his party has set up a fundraisng committee to ensure there are enough resources to fund the elective congress.
He said each province has been tasked to raise $150,000. Zanu PF reccently held its youths and women’s conferences but they were marred by lack of funds. VOA