Annoyed by Grace Mugabe's recent vicious tongue-lashing of the Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial politburo members here demanded an apology during last week's explosive politburo meeting.
Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, former Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and the party's Bulawayo provincial chairman Callistus Ndlovu took turns to tell President Robert Mugabe of their dismay at his wife's public accusations that Ndlovu was misrepresenting facts on the state of the party in the province.
Ndlovu had told the gathering that Bulawayo province was united.
"Let's not lie please. There is no unity of purpose. There are some people who are still calling themselves Zapu members here. The imposition of leaders here has led to dissenting voices," ranted Grace.
According to the politburo source, Masuku was the first to raise the issue.
"Masuku told Mugabe they respect Grace as the first lady but she should also learn to respect her elders. She also told Mugabe that Grace's remarks were a threat to the ZAPU and ZANU unity accord," said the source.
Ndlovu told Mugabe that the party should first of all address challenges facing the city such as the closure and relocation of companies before entertaining any hopes of winning elections.
Higher Education secretary Ndlovu also voiced his concern over the issue and defended his attendance of Vice president Joyce Mujuru's recent graduation ceremony in Dotito in Mashonaland Central.
During the meeting, former Zapu secretary general Cephas Msipa suggested that the party should set up a commission of inquiry to probe raging factionalism, but the idea was shot down by Mugabe himself, said the source.
"He said the composition of the commission was going to be a problem considering that everyone is aligned to one faction or the other."
Vice president Joice Mujuru was afforded a rare opportunity to defend herself over corruption and insubordination allegations by Grace, added the source.