Victor Matemadanda, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary general, has challenged President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to walk her talk that she supports Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Grace professed her support for Mnangagwa late last week when the Zanu PF women’s wing that she leads held its summit.
She denied speculation that her assembly was gunning for the removal of Mnangagwa or the other vice president, Phelekezela Mphoko, at the coming Zanu PF national conference and have him replaced by a woman.
The wing is gunning for one of the two vice presidents to be a woman, but Grace has publicly denied she plans to occupy the position.
At the same meeting on Friday, Mugabe said rumour mongering was dividing his party, which he claimed was still united.
But Matemadanda was not easily tickled by the first family’s purported support for Mnangagwa who his organisation wants to take over from the 92-year-old president before the 2018 general elections.
Matemadanda was recently expelled from the ruling party alongside the chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, the secretary for information, Douglas Mahiya, and others for rebelling against Mugabe,
Matemadanda accused Mugabe of double standards.
He should stop fooling people that it is rumour-mongering (that is happening in Zanu PF) because he was there when (Sarah) Mahoka attacked and embarrassed the VP (Mnangagwa) and nothing was done to her.
“He and his wife were there when (Mandi) Chimene did the same to VP Mnangagwa and still today, nothing has happened to her. I think they are just up to something and they want to use people. It is very bad,” Matemadanda told the weekly Standard newspaper.
Both Chimene and Mahoka, senior party leaders, earlier this year used party gatherings to directly attack Mnangagwa who, however, remained unfazed.
They are linked to a Zanu PF faction, Generation 40 (G40), which Grace is rumoured to front.
Matemadanda challenged Grace to prove through action, her claim that she was in support of Mnangagwa.
“The words are good but the most important thing is sincerity, which is only known to her. We as war veterans want Zanu PF to be a disciplined party and what the president said is good but it should not end there.
“It must be practised. Until then, we are not convinced that the peace and reconciliation statements are genuine,” he said.
The war vets leader, Mutsvangwa, was first relieved of his cabinet post as minister in charge of ex-combatants’ welfare and subsequently booted out of Zanu PF for allegedly accusing Grace of abusing her status as Mugabe’s wife by meddling in national politics.
Matemadanda, Mahiya and several other war veterans who publicly called on Mugabe to vacate office over his old age and despotism, are currently facing trial for allegedly insulting the 92-year-old president.