Zimbabwe First Lady Grace Mugabe has blasted war veterans, warning that their participation in the war of liberation was not a passport to misbehave.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a rally at Chimhanda Secondary School in Rushinga yesterday, where she also declared that Mashonaland Central province was a no-go area for opposition parties, Grace warned the disciplinary arm of the party would deal with errant war veterans even if they were distinguished liberation war fighters.
“People will start to say yes you went to war, but were you forced to participate because of your behaviour?” she said.
“Some will say because I went to war, then I have a right to do whatever I want. Are you the only one who went to war? There are others who fought in that liberation war and are still toeing the party line.”
The attack seemed to have been directed at former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, as the latter has of late clashed with other top government officials who did not participate in the liberation struggle.
Grace also declared Mashonaland Central a Zanu PF “liberated zone” where opposition party activities were prohibited, urging ruling party officials to chase away all known MDC-T activists from the area.
“The problem with other parties is that they only come to you during election time. Here in Mashonaland Central, they should not attempt to come. That is a no-go area for them. It is a one-party State here,” she said.
Grace said life outside Zanu PF was cold and officials fanning a new wave of factionalism should take a cue from the expelled Mujuru and others who were accused of trying to topple her husband President Robert Mugabe.
“If you are outside Zanu PF, let me tell you that it’s cold out there. You will spend the day wearing jackets and people will ask if you are sick because you will be wearing those jackets endlessly. It’s really cold out there,” she warned.
Fired former Public Service minister Nicholas Goche cut a lone figure at the rally yesterday and endured insults directed at suspected Mujuru allies.
The First Lady also announced that the Chinese yuan currency would soon be convertible in Zimbabwe, as there was sabotage over the use of the US dollar.
She alleged the Americans were interfering with the use of their currency in instances where people outside the country would be trying to send money to recipients in Zimbabwe or when the government is sending money to its embassies.
She later donated farming equipment including tractors, 150 tonnes of compound D and 150 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, plus 20 000 litres of cooking oil, 15 tonnes of clothes, 6 000 pairs of shoes, several tonnes of maize and rice, among others.
Other Zanu PF officials stampeded to donate various items, including Goche, who donated five tonnes of maize and a beast.
Grace’s daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore and son Russell Goreraza also made donations.