Grace Mugabe targets MPs

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“Be like Mai Mahofa, she is my role model.”

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is reportedly planning to recall some of his party MPs linked to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and call for by-elections that would see his wife First Lady Grace Mugabe contest the Mazowe South seat to enable her to qualify for a Cabinet appointment.

Chief Reporters

The new purge is also expected to target some ambassadors and diplomats believed to belong to the Mujuru faction.

President Robert Mugabe
President Robert Mugabe

The Mazoe South seat, which Grace is reportedly eyeing is presently held by sacked Justice deputy minister Fortune Chasi whom the First Lady accused of blocking her plans to grab more land.

Sources said the plan to recall the “dissident MPs” and purge Chasi to pave way for Grace was hatched long back and that partly explains the First Lady’s vitriolic attack on Chasi at her Mazowe orphanage in August.

According to sources, Grace wanted the parliamentary seat to enable her to land a Cabinet post following her recent elevation to the Zanu PF central committee and politburo.

Grace remains the favourite candidate to take over from Oppah Muchinguri who doubled as Zanu PF women’s league secretary and Gender minister.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has already been informed to prepare for by-elections,” a source privy to the development said.

“Some MPs perceived to have been working with Mujuru will be recalled and by-elections will be held.”

 Oppah Muchinguri
Oppah Muchinguri

Mugabe, the source said, would announce another Cabinet reshuffle soon after his return from his annual leave, and continue the purge on perceived dissidents.

To date, the 90-year-old Zanu PF leader has fired Mujuru and 16 Cabinet ministers believed to be involved in the alleged plot to oust him.

“The plot to make Grace an MP started a long time back, that is why Grace herself attacked Chasi,” the source continued.

“She was preparing groundwork for his ouster so that she could take over the seat.”

However, some MPs, who seem to be targets of the move, have vowed to contest as independent candidates should they be recalled.

“We will contest as independent candidates if we are recalled,” one MP said.

Political analyst, Ibbo Mandza, estimated there were about 100 MPs belonging to Mujuru’s camp.

If they are all recalled, he said Mugabe would have to dissolve Parliament and call for general elections, which might not work in his favour.

“Only a few will be sacrificed and recalled from Parliament to avoid a general election,” the source said.

Chasi could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sources also revealed that some ambassadors will be called back, although they did not did not say who the likely targets were.

Ambassadors serve four-year terms that can be renewed depending on foreign policy considerations, but the insiders revealed that some may be recalled way before their terms of office expire.

The last diplomatic reshuffle was in September, a few weeks before Grace spectacularly accused Mujuru of plotting her husband’s downfall.

“That is not the end of it,” a source said yesterday.

“Expect more people to be fired by the end of February, anyone whose loyalty is questionable will go.”

Another insider said some parastatals bosses were likely to lose their cushy jobs, saying some had been implicated in shoring up Mujuru’s presidential push.

Already there are accusations that money was taken from Zesa to campaign for Mujuru.

A minister and his deputy, who were in charge of the parastatal have already been axed, raising speculation that bosses were next.

However, President Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba yesterday dismissed the speculation saying there was no link with the current purge of ministers.

“The last diplomat to be sent out was in late November and it does not make sense for the president to recall them so quickly in December,” he said.

“In any case there has been a sharp departure in deploying diplomats. If you check their profiles, three quarters of them are civil servants, unlike in the past where they were politicians.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Anyone who thinks this political purge is over could not be more wrong, it has still a long way to go. There are two forces driving the purge:

    1) Mugabe has every reason to fear the Mujuru faction as a political force; they have the inside in-formation on how the regime operates and for a regime now totally dependent on rigging elec-tions, intimidation and other dirty tricks to stay in power it has to be 100% sure there are Mujuru sympathisers left in the system. Following up on any of the leaders who have accumulated a lot of wealth and taking it all away makes a long of sense for the regime because an economically incapacitated enemy is politically incapacitate too.

    2) The country’s economic meltdown is squeezing everybody and so there are going to be job cuts right across the board any of those left there will more cuts as those who loyalty to the regime is questionable will be forced out to make room for the loyal one who would have been dumped or are already out of work.

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