FORMER First Lady Grace is a toxic amateur politician with no following, former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo has said.
In an angry statement in response to Grace’s weekend utterances at her mother’s funeral at which she called on “her followers” to forgive President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his coup acolytes for the good of the country, Moyo while arguing he still held former President Robert Mugabe in high regard his wife lacked political experience to lead.
“Reasonable people, more so among Africans, understand only too well that when we extend our respect for our national leaders to their spouses; that does not mean we are extending leadership qualities or responsibilities to the spouses.
“… it is news to me that Mrs Mugabe has followers. I consider it an insult that some circles, especially in the media, refer to some leaders who worked with and supported President Mugabe as followers of Mrs Mugabe. That’s not only false but it is also nonsensical. Mrs Mugabe cannot be a leader simply because she’s the spouse of our iconic founding leader,” Moyo said.
Grace told mourners at Mbuya Idah Marufu’s funeral in Chikomba that she had since made peace with Mnangagwa following his intervention to assist with bringing her back to Zimbabwe after her mother’s death.
“Yes, what happened indeed happened (coup). We must move on. We must learn to forgive each other. I have forgiven them. If the person who was affected the most can forgive, how about you? I’m talking to those who are busy attacking Mnangagwa, let us move on and support him,” she said.
Mnangagwa swept to power on the back of a military coup last November before his controversial election on July 30 that was unsuccessfully challenged by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa at the Constitutional Court.
No political experience
Moyo said Mugabe had personally also publicly spoken about Grace’s lack of political acumen.
“Mrs Mugabe’s lack of political experience has always been self-evident and is known by everyone who has interacted with her. The remarks attributed to her in the Standard story (on Sunday) are significant only in so far as they betray her lack of political experience, and the toxic, polarising and damaging consequences thereof.
“Mrs Mugabe’s sentiments as reported by Standard are most unfortunate. They are unfortunate because they are false and insensitive,” said the exiled former government spin-doctor.
Now a lone voice in the former Zanu PF faction known as G40 following the Mugabes’ capitulation, Moyo accused Grace of lying.
“It is an absurd corruption of public morality, values and ethos for Mrs Mugabe to claim that Mnangagwa’s gesture to hire a fancy private plane to fly her from Singapore and to pay for her mother’s funeral constitutes a political paradigm for the country to move on.
“Narcissism cannot be the basis for politics. Mrs Mugabe was indeed well within her rights to thank Mnangagwa for assisting her family at a time of need, but she had no rhyme or reason or right to turn that into a national cause,” he said.
Moyo who was forced to flee to exile in the dead of night as gun-totting soldiers closed in on him in November last year with Mugabe and his family under house arrest said Grace’s claim she was the biggest casualty of the coup smacked of insensitivity.
“Even worse, it is shocking to hear that Mrs Mugabe claims to be the one person who was affected the most by the November military coup. Honestly? On what basis does she make this insensitive claim? Is she aware what happened to Dr Ignatius Chombo and his wife?
“Is she aware what happened to Kudzai Chipanga? Is she aware what happened to thousands and thousands of Zimbabweans who were internally and externally displaced? Is she aware of Zimbabweans whose homes and sources of livelihood were destroyed? How about Zimbabweans who were tortured and killed?” he asked rhetorically.
On the eve of the elections in July, Mugabe announced he was backing opposition leader Nelson Chamisa with the MDC Alliance leader welcoming the support but vehemently denied he had offered the former First Lady a position as Vice President in a possible government were he to win the polls. Moyo however revealed otherwise.
“I wish I had been able to convey my condolences privately and directly to Mrs Mugabe; but, alas, I was not able to do so after she blocked me from all communication contacts with her on 10 June 2018.
“She did this in an angry response to advice I had respectfully and privately offered to her in writing, against her toxic and polarising wishes to lead the National Patriotic Front (NPF) in general and, in particular, against her then active but divisive push to be seconded by the NPF as a vice president in what had been proposed as a Grand National Union (GNU) of opposition forces ahead of the 30 July election,” said Moyo adding “My contact with Mrs Mugabe was slim prior to 10 June, and none since then.”
The NPF was formed from the ashes of the vanquished G40 faction and at some point was reportedly in talks with Chamisa for a possible coalition. Reports at the time claimed Grace had been promised or demanded the vice presidency.
Responding to a tweet from Moyo acolyte Edmund Kudzayi who argued Moyo was right to criticize Grace and Mnangagwa, the former First Lady’s spokesperson Jealous Mawarire let rip.
“I also hope @ProfJNMoyo doesn’t think his #LetsKwekweHim nonsense was a national cry. Sometimes pple are better off quiet than expose their duplicitous selves,who paid his chln’s school fees when he moved to Kenya, wasn’t it ED (Mnangagwa)?
“While @ProfJNMoyo is within his right to criticise anyone whom chooses to, it’s his pass time, he has to be truthful throughout. One day, his reason for the fallout with Mai Mugabe will be told, and it’s never about Mai Mugabe wanting to be NPF president, she never wanted,” said Mawarire.