Former first lady Grace Mugabe is at the centre of a vicious war of words between spokesperson of the stuttering National Patriotic Front (NPF), Jealousy Mawarire, and exiled two former Cabinet ministers — Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao — who have been accused of trying to impose themselves on the opposition party.
Mawarire yesterday let rip at Moyo and Zhuwao for allegedly trying to enter a coalition without following due process while at the same time sullying former president Robert Mugabe’s wife.
The fallout between Mawarire and the two former ministers comes as the NPF leader Ambrose Mutinhiri is said to have “misused” funds meant to buy campaign T-Shirts for the fledgling party.
In a leaked video conversation between Moyo and Zhuwao, the two could be heard alleging that Mutinhiri abused about $14 000 donated by Grace to buy the NPF T-Shirts from South Africa.
However, Mawarire told the Daily News yesterday that the money at the centre of the storm actually came from a well-wisher, something that Moyo also admitted on his micro-blogging platform account Twitter.
“Mai Mugabe did not make any donation, they were done by a good Samaritan from South Africa. The money was from a South African account, there was no way she was involved, it’s grossly unfair.
“Zhuwao and Moyo want to drag Grace into their battle with me, they have been selling themselves as coalition brokers, falsely claiming that they are in control and would broker any deal,” said Mawarire.
The NPF is hard pressed to enter into a coalition with other political parties to increase the opposition chances of defeating President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF in the impending national elections.
Political analysts have said the opposition stands the chance to end Zanu PF’s dominance if it contests the looming polls as a grand coalition.
Last week some senior officials from the NPF, reportedly met MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa to discuss a coalition pact.
But, Mawarire said as a party they have decided to set up structures first before entering into a broader coalition.
“Moyo and Zhuwao have seen in me someone who will not pander to their whims, a spokesperson who would not falsify the party position to promote their ambition of railroading NPF into a coalition outside the party structures.
“The national executive committee has resolved that while we believe a coalition is the way to go it can only be useful to us and our envisaged partners if it is done with the acquiescence of our party structures and that is what we have been doing before we embarked on any coalition.
“But in Moyo’s quest to be both the Machiavelli and the seer who discovers the prince he sees in me an inconvenient element that has the potential to water down his claim of being the man. He claims that that wisdom in Zimbabwean politics was born with his entry in 2000 and died with his unfortunate expulsion in 2017, but that is wrong,” said Mawarire.
On Twitter Moyo said that an unnamed male benefactor was sponsoring NPF activities.
“Gee whiz! How many times will NPF implode? “Munchembere” is a cryptonym that Patrick Zhuwao and I use strictly between us, especially in our written communication informal chats, for a male benefactor we understand has funded some of NPF’s founding budget,” wrote Moyo.
The NPF has in recent weeks been facing myriad challenges including claims that Mutinhiri was said to be considering his future — amid damaging talk that he is being abused by the former first family in the same way that they used Zanu PF politburo member Sydney Sekeramayi at the height of the ruling party’s deadly succession wars.
Mugabe’s nephew Zhuwao, further threw the cat among the pigeons two weeks ago when he accused former Zanu PF national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, of being used by Mnangagwa’s government to lead a splinter group against the NPF.
Zhuwao, Kasukuwere and Moyo — who all fled into self-imposed exile following the fall of Mugabe from power in November last year — were once close political allies who were identified as the kingpins of the ruling party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction which coalesced around Mugabe and Grace before the 94-year-old was stunningly deposed from the throne with the help of an intervention by the military.
Until then, the annihilated G40 was locked in a brutal war of attrition with Mnangagwa and his supporters for control of both Zanu PF and the country.
Zhuwao’s surprise attacks on Kasukuwere were prompted by unconfirmed reports that the former Local Government minister may be negotiating with Mnangagwa and his inner circle for his return to Zimbabwe.
Kasukuwere returned to Harare yesterday afternoon ending his six months in self-imposed exile.