- Published on 20 October 2014
- Written by dailynews
President Robert Mugabe apparently supports his wife Grace's recent public attacks on senior Zanu PF and government officials, including Vice President Joice Mujuru, it has emerged.
Apart from the women's league boss'-designate's own remarks that the 90-year-old leader was "fed up with this faction leader", the Zanu PF leader's continued silence on the constant "badgering" has fanned suspicions that Mugabe was firmly behind these verbal assaults.
"Even Baba (Mugabe) is also fed up with this person. I heard that the demon of factionalism started in this province and spread to other provinces. I say from today, it should end. The moment of truth is coming," Grace said at one of her "meet-the-people" rallies in Bindura on Thursday.
The State-run Bulawayo-based Chronicle, through an unnamed contributor believed to be a minister thought to be one of the brains behind Grace, confirmed that the First Lady was acting on behalf of Mugabe in her rabid assaults on Joice.
In a piece titled, first lady Grace Mugabe enters political arena with a bang, the writer said: "The first lady is carrying a message from the president.
"Anybody who thinks otherwise is a novice in politics. It is inconceivable that the openness and candidness with which she has delivered her speeches, could occur without the president's blessing. She has come out as someone who is well-briefed regarding the long-term machinations of some people in the party. She has said that WE (meaning her and the president) know what is happening. The first family is aware of the efforts to subvert and trash the Mugabe legacy."
In addition to this, the "glee" with which the State media has reported on Mujuru's alleged humiliation at the Harare International Airport and when Mugabe was flying off to Italy on Friday has not helped matters, analysts say.
According to a report in the Sunday Mail yesterday, the nonagenarian "zoomed past" his Zanu PF number two after a chat with party national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and after his high-minded wife Grace had also snubbed the embattled VP.
"The first lady shook hands with most dignitaries on the tarmac, but did not shake hands with VP Mujuru. The first lady then waited for the president near the stairs into the plane," it reported.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure told the news crew over the weekend that Mugabe as the leader of the party must come out in the open and explain what is transpiring in his party.
"Mugabe and his wife must come out and tell us what is really happening. The president ought to tell us whether he is the hand behind his wife's vicious attacks. People need answers and I think it's wise if Mugabe provides them," Masunungure said.
Masunungure said it was highly likely that Mugabe was the hand behind Grace's vitriolic outbursts.
"In the absence of this, there is no harm in speculating that he is the one who sent her to do his dirty work. The trouble is that he has been silent and this has seen a groundswell of suspicion. His wife launched vicious attacks on senior party officials and government ministers that no ordinary person could have done. Currently, she is a mere card-carrying member and I am sure that other card-carrying members will not attack their seniors like what she did.
"The president himself is a smart politician and he rarely uses such language. This has further increased the suspicion that he hired his wife to do his dirty work. So I would say the suspicions are justified because how do you explain that Grace is acting as the head of government, de facto prime minister and vice president."
Pedzisai Ruhanya, a democracy scholar and political analyst, raised suspicion that Mujuru angered the first family through utterances that Mugabe must go.
"We need to investigate deeper and go beyond her utterances. I believe there is something that we don't know that upset the first family. My suspicion is that Mujuru or her close associates insulted the first family. Mujuru must have said something to the effect of taking power. Whatever Mujuru or her associates did or uttered has rattled the first family and they no longer have trust in her. Grace needs to protect her political and economic interests because soon, her husband will be gone," Ruhanya said.
However, another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme said Grace was taking advantage of Mugabe's advanced age.
"The question whether Mugabe is behind Grace's shenanigans or not should never arise," Saungweme said.
"Mugabe is too old and is no longer in charge. He is too old to comprehend fully what's happening around him.
"Grace knows this quite well as she shares a bedroom with him. She is just taking advantage of a dying old man whose faculties are no longer functional due to advanced age."
Masunungure said Mujuru will likely react diplomatically and engage Mugabe in a "stateswomanly manner."
"She won't react in public," he said. "She is an esteemed leader, a war veteran and a stateswoman. She will deal with the manner diplomatically and in a stateswomanly manner.
"Remember, she is called Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood) but she is a refrained leader, she is mature. All these are qualities of a good leader and a statesperson," Masunungure added.