Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe and the country’s Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been archrivals in the succession wars over President Robert Mugabe’s position.
The two have been touted as potential successors and they both expressed interest in becoming the next President of Zimbabwe when the 93-year-old president decides to step aside or is deceased.
Less than 48 hours to the sack of 75-year-old Mnangagwa, Grace Mugabe had vented her spleen at the vice president during her speech at a church gathering on Sunday where she called for his sack.
“His head must be crushed. I have said I will personally make sure disciplinary procedures are followed to deal with Mnangagwa even if everyone in the party is scared. I will not be intimidated,” she threatened.
His head must be crushed. I have said I will personally make sure disciplinary procedures are followed to deal with Mnangagwa even if everyone in the party is scared. I will not be intimidated.
This followed another scathing attack against the vice president on Saturday at a Zanu-PF youth rally in the presence of her husband where she got
angry after she was booed by his supporters who she claimed were paid to do so.
“I don’t care whether you boo me … You were paid to boo me but I will say it as it is even if you bring soldiers with guns I will say the same thing. Stop it, whatever you are doing.
“We had previous vice presidents and we never had any problems in the party. When these two people came in [Vice presidents Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko] there was chaos and disorder in the party. But the chaos is not coming from VP Mphoko.
“As women, we now want to reclaim our position in the presidency. VP Mnangagwa even knows that his current position is reserved for women,” she added with accusations that he is causing instability in the party.
President Mugabe backed his wife after her speech by questioning the appointment of Mnangagwa who has a faction within the party that strongly supports his succession of Mugabe.
“Did I make a mistake in appointing Mnangagwa as my vice president? If I erred I will drop him by end of day tomorrow. If he and his backers want to form their own party so be it. We cannot have a party of friction and personal insults,” furious Mugabe said.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sack was announced in a press statement on Monday signed by the Minister of Information Simon Khaya Moyo which said Mnangagwa’s “conduct in the discharge of his duties had become inconsistent with his official responsibilities”.
“The Vice President has consistently and persistently exhibited traits of disloyalty, disrespect, deceitfulness and unreliability. He has also demonstrated little probity in the execution of his duties,” it added.
It is not clear if Grace Mugabe will be appointed the next Vice President as she claimed in her speech in which she preempted Mnangagwa’s sack.
The 52-year-old First Lady is one of the powerful figures in the ruling Zanu-PF. She has said on several occasions that she will succeed her frail husband Robert Mugabe.