ZANU PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday read the riot act against party officials locked in a war of words over First Lady Grace Mugabe’s ascendancy into the party’s top organs.
Grace’s endorsement to lead the women’s league after the Zanu PF congress in December has spawned factional fighting that is spiralling out of control.
Moyo yesterday held an emergency meeting with provincial chairpersons on the matter and issued a terse statement warning against the use of the First Family’s name in the battle for Zanu PF posts ahead of congress.
“Zanu PF is a mammoth organisation, a revolutionary party with massive membership and, therefore, its structures must be intact and its membership registers verified all the time,” he said in a statement seen by Southern Eye.
“Zanu PF is not a media party and its operations cannot be conducted through the media.
“Zanu PF is a party of discipline and this must be reflected throughout its structures.
“On this note, I must warn the party leadership at every level not to use the media to abuse the First Lady’s name for whatever reasons.
“The First Lady must be respected at all times.”
There were reports that Harare province was opposed to Grace’s elevation to the top post.
However, the Amos Midzi-led provincial executive on Monday moved to silence the critics by nominating her for the central committee.
The nomination means Grace’s elevation is no longer dependent on her husband President Robert Mugabe’s benevolence.
Mugabe handpicks politburo members who include the secretary for women’s affairs, a position the current boss Oppah Muchinguri wants to relinquish to Grace.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said although there were no formal complaints, the party was aware of officials who were using purported links to the First Family to intimidate others.
“We don’t take kindly the pronouncements that tarnish the image of the First Family,” Gumbo told our sister paper NewsDay.
“We have not received official complaints except what we see in the papers which is surprising because we thought the issue of the First Lady was dealt with after her endorsement by the women’s league and as a party we endorsed that. That is the end of the story.
“For those fighting their mini battles, it’s outside the party and should stop using the names of the First Family in all that. That is unacceptable.
“We have rules and regulations of the party that say that if people are aggrieved they channel them through proper channels and have ways of dealing with that.”
Grace’s elevation is seen in some quarters as an attempt to manage Mugabe’s succession.
It is still not yet clear which faction is riding on her coattails and her envisaged role in the fluid succession battle.