Barely four years after they hounded then vice-president Joice Mujuru out of government and Zanu PF on spurious allegations of witchcraft and treason, President Robert Mugabe and his wife are at it again.

The couple has turned its guns on Mujuru’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is in trouble for allegedly showing too much ambition. In a rehash of the Mujuru script, Mnangagwa is being tried and convicted at televised rallies and meetings, with the first family playing the judge, jury and executioner.

Mugabe and his wife are taking turns to lay all sorts of charges against their erstwhile ally, who ironically cheered the couple when they dismantled Mujuru in 2014.

It was only after Mugabe’s long-time lieutenant had been thrown into the cold that former Zanu PF spin doctor Jonathan Moyo helpfully told BBC’s HardTalk programme that the allegations used to push Mujuru out were just political banter.

First lady Grace Mugabe wanted to get rid of Mujuru because she feared that the war veteran would scupper her own political ambitions. Mugabe also wanted her out of the way because he thought Mujuru might be an obstacle to his plans to rule Zimbabwe until he drops dead. Their insecurities became everyone’s problem and the Zanu PF internal problems were foisted on Zimbabweans already burdened by grinding poverty.

Mnangagwa is accused of soiling the image of the first family’s Gushungo Dairies after he claimed that he was poisoned. Some claimed he ate Gushungo ice cream, an allegation the VP denies. He is also accused of becoming too impatient to see his boss’s back. Mugabe and his wife are using every opportunity they get to publicly admonish Mnangagwa.

Predictably, the heat would be turned on the Midlands politician as Zanu PF’s annual conference set for December draws near. Once again, the pressing issues facing Zimbabweans such as cash shortages and a tanking economy will be relegated to the periphery.

Mnangagwa’s alleged shenanigans will take centre stage and when Mugabe is done with him, the 93-year-old ruler will fly out for his month-long holiday in Asia. There will be no time to address the cash problems.

Mugabe invests too much time and energy in trying to ensure that he maintains his grip on power at the expense of delivering on his election promises. If he has problems with Mnangagwa, the president knows the proper channels where he can address them.

Zimbabweans expect him to do his job and extricate the country from the mess he created through his 37 years of disastrous rule. Whether Mnangagwa was poisoned or not, it is a question that can only be answered by his doctors. Mugabe and his wife must leave us out of this side show.

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