First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday corrected media reports that insinuated she had said Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was her senior. Responding to a headline that appeared in The Herald when she addressed a rally in Mberengwa last week, Amai Mugabe said while she had great respect for Vice Presidents Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, the pair was not senior to her.
She said this while addressing thousands of people at Mushayavanhu High School in Gutu during her ninth rally to connect with the people.
The First Lady has been to all the provinces save for Bulawayo.
I said I respect VPs Mphoko and Mnangagwa and I did not say they are my seniors,” Amai Mugabe said.
“There are some mischievous people in the media industry. (The) Herald, what is it that you wrote that VP Mnangagwa is my senior? I never said that. I said he has more experience in politics than me. It does not mean the First Lady is below the VP.”
She added: “I said I just got into Zanu-PF and the fact that I said that does not mean I am lower than someone. I am the wife of the President. I humble myself and respect the people. VP Mphoko I refer to him as my father because he is our Vice President, but despite the fact that I call him father, he knows my position that I am the wife of their leader. It is my right, and even in the Politburo that’s why I seat at the front.”
At the Mberengwa rally, Amai Mugabe said she had a lot to learn from VP Mnangagwa in politics and the pair enjoyed cordial relations.
She was responding to a spirited campaign in the private media that sought to cast her nationwide rallies as a pitch for one of the VP posts, ostensibly VP Mnangagwa’s, at Zanu-PF’s 15th Annual National People’s Conference that begins in Victoria Falls on Monday.
Meanwhile, divisions rocking the Zanu-PF Women’s League came out in the open yesterday when secretary for administration Cde Esphinah Nhari made a slogan saying: “Pasi neG40” when the wing’s national executive was being introduced.
This prompted the wing’s secretary for finance Cde Sara Mahoka to respond: “We heard Cde Nhari saying down with G40 and we want her to come and explain what that is.”
Cde Nhari responded: “Makanzwa tichitaura pamusoro peGamatox. Pari zvino mafoni edu akazara nekuti G40. We got the messages and so I am saying to those sending them down with you. I don’t know them, but I have the messages.”
Cde Mahoka retorted: “Pasi nevanoda kuondonga province dzevamwe. Pasi nevanotaura zveG40 vasingaitsananguri! Pasi nevanotaura zvavasingazivi.”
This forced the Women’s League secretary for security and Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Shuvai Mahofa to intervene before Vice President Mphoko reprimanded Cde Nhari.
Said Cde Mahofa: “As Masvingo province we have prepared our event to host Amai. Hatidi kukanganiswa nemhepo. Toda mufaro pano, Mai Mahoka hatidi zvinhu zvetsvina.”
G40 is a fictitious faction propagated by the private media linked to some Zanu-PF officials.
Speaking just before introducing Amai Mugabe, VP Mphoko said Cde Nhari’s actions were tantamount to attacking the First Lady.
“There is a saying in Shona which says kurova imbwa wakaviga mupinyi,” VP Mphoko said. “If I want to attack the President, those who think they are clever will say First Lady leads a faction. There is no difference between First Lady and President Mugabe.”
He added: “The problem is people over evaluate themselves and see themselves as big people. If you do that you live artificially, be very careful.”
VP Mphoko called for discipline in the party, describing G4O as a “myth”.
“You (Cde Nhari) are a grown up person and a lot look up to you for guidance,” he said.
“Now you are attacking the President. G40 is a myth, there is nothing like that. If I ask you what G40 is, you do not know. As a leader assist the First Lady. You were so close to disrupting the rally but you have no evidence of what G40 is.”
Barely two weeks ago, members of the Women’s League had different positions on whether or not the wing had resolved to sent a team to Manicaland to probe its spokesperson, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa, who is being accused of participating in an illegal meeting that tried to overturn a vote of no confidence that had been passed on Cde Happiness Nyakuedzwa.
A team was later sent to the province and the Women’s League members openly clashed during the meeting.