HARARE – The reported succession tiff between the First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is fictitious and the pair should continue driving forward the Zanu-PF agenda, President Mugabe has claimed.
Despite getting rid of former Vice President Joice Mujuru on charges of plotting to assassinate President Mugabe, the infighting in the ruling party has worsened with a group of young politicians in the party called Generation 40 allegedly backing the First Lady to take over while doing everything possible to undermine the VP, Mnangagwa.
But addressing the 99th Ordinary Session of the Zanu-PF Central Committee in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said the “imagined factions” were a creation of “thankless minds” in opposition parties and the private media.
He said despite the uncharitable attacks, VPs Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — together with the First Lady — should “acclimatise to the heatwave of criticism” and continue mobilising resources for the country’s economic turnaround.
“They (opposition parties and private media) have nothing to talk about, so they will create something,” Mugabe said.
“It is Mnangagwa and the First Lady going at each other in order to take care of themselves before what they call succession. It may be also some women in Manicaland said to be going for each other for the dominance of the province or perhaps in support of the fictitious factions of Mnangagwa on one hand and the First Lady on the other.
“Yes, we get annoyed and irritated by those allegations made against us, but what do you expect to get from the opposition and its sponsors? They have no programmes to sell to the people, no ideas anymore to talk about.”
He added: “But we were not born yesterday and so, we know how to take these jibes, allegations and lies that are manufactured every night and published every morning. We take them for what they are— rubbish for the dustbin!” President Mugabe said to applause from the auditorium.
The countrywide tours by the First Lady, President Mugabe said, had kept the party alive and vibrant and showed that there was “no sleeping in-between elections and vegetating in Zanu-PF”.
“There is always work to do,” Mugabe said.
“We all know from the days of the struggle that when challenges mount, when people face hurdles, this is the time to be with them.
“That is the Zanu-PF way and the party must go to the village to be at one with the hungry, to be at one with the farmers. We are there to serve our people and we are doing our best despite our limited capacity. We might not have enough food to feed their stomachs, but survive, they will.”
Mugabe implored youths to respect the party hierarchy and stop taking party issues to the private media. This comes after Mashonaland Central youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu was given a vote of no confidence last Saturday and granted an interview to the private media the following day attacking the party’s senior leadership.
Said President Mugabe: “Let us also respect decisions and procedures of the party. We have witnessed lower organs of the party or cadres leading them, challenging superior organs appointed to lead them. Such actions amount to insubordination and indeed a challenge to authority.
“Akin to such indiscipline is an unstructured interaction with hostile sections of the media. That is indiscipline at its worst. As we criticise the youngsters, isu vakuru ndisu tinonyorera kana kutaurira maopossiiton papers dzimwe nyaya tichida kunyadzisa vamwe vedu, tichida kukoromora vamwe vedu. That has to stop!” President Mugabe said, adding that Zanu-PF had “one mouth” and anyone with grievances should use the normal channel for redress.
“When you speak without authority of that mouth, you are not serving the party but the enemy,” he said.
“When you speak through a channel hostile to the party, NewsDay, Standard or any other rubbish paper you are not defending the party. You are giving substance to the enemy. Keep even the bitterest of attacks against you and find an opportunity to clear yourself within closed doors.
“It is not that we are afraid of the outside to know what we are doing. We do not want the enemy to have ammunition with which they will seek to destroy the party. If you are doing it stop it!” He said.