FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe is reportedly targeting the upcoming Zanu-PF youth interface rally in Harare to push beleaguered Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the edge, as the ruling party’s power struggles reach a tipping point, party insiders have said.
Although dates for the rally have not yet been released, NewsDay understands that an elaborate plan has been put in place to ferry “selected supporters” from surrounding provinces, Mashonaland East, West and Central, to ratchet up pressure on Mnangagwa and boot him out on allegations of plotting to wrest power from soon-to-be 94-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
“Following the meeting of the youth league national executive last week, Grace met them and demanded answers as to why ED (Mnangagwa) had been receiving rousing welcomes (sic) at rallies organised by the youth,” an impeccable Zanu-PF source, who declined to be named for security reasons, said.
“She demanded to know the logistics that would be going to be put in place for the Harare rally and indicated she would be monitoring progress.
“The Harare rally is meant to be used as the ultimate platform to force him (Mnangagwa) out.”Youth league secretary for administration Xavier Kazizi denied knowledge of the alleged plot.”Where are you getting that from? I do not know about it,” he said.
Mnangagwa was the subject of derision and attack at the Bindura rally two weeks ago, with Mugabe leading the onslaught.
The Vice-President is locked in a bitter succession tussle with a faction of Zanu-PF known as G40, which is pushing for Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi to take over from the Zanu-PF leader.
Questions on why the youth league had to brief Grace after their meeting were asked, but Zanu-PF Harare provincial youth chairperson Edson Takataka said the women’s league, which is led by the First Lady, had always been involved in the planning of the youth rallies.
“We work with the women’s league. There is nothing sinister in that. You are aware of our slogan that says where you find the women’s league, the youth league will be there,” he said.
We are working hard. Although we do not have dates yet for the rally, we have the capacity.”
Asked if there was a plan to bus in supporters from other provinces, Takataka said the rally was open to all.
“We do not need help from other provinces, but they are welcome,” he said.
“Our supporters always go where the President is and we will not stop them, but we are not making any special plans for our rally.”
Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe said his executive would only come in to support the youth league to make sure the rally was a success.
“We are not involved in the planning, but will support in every form and manner that is possible to make sure the rally is a success,” he said.
“We do not know whom they are inviting and how. It is none of our concern. We are only aware that [Mugabe] is addressing the interface rally in Harare at a date to be advised, but soon.”
At the Bindura rally, Grace threatened to push out Mnangagwa the same way she booted out former Vice-President Joice Mujuru if the Vice-President continued to associate with what she called rogue and expelled party members.
Mnangagwa early this year reportedly hosted a private party, where he hobnobbed with a group of expelled Zanu-PF members at his Zvishavane rural home, where he was pictured with a mug inscribed “I am the Boss”.
In Bindura, Mugabe subtly referred to the event, urging Mnangagwa to “throw it (the mug) away