ZANU PF’s politburo, set to meet again on Wednesday after last week’s aborted meeting may fail to deal with the deepening chasms within the party as the war of words between First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru escalates, analysts said.
Grace has in the past few days laid into Mujuru accusing her of plotting a palace coup, corruption, leading a faction and being an extortionist. The vice-president, not with the same venom as her nemesis, has denied the charges and took a few pot shots at President Robert Mugabe’s wife.
After last Friday’s politburo session, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo intimated that Grace’s rallies would be on the agenda this week, while Mugabe reportedly told outgoing women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri to deal with the fallout.
However, there are mixed feelings as to whether the politburo was an appropriate platform to tackle the issue since Grace is not a member, at least for now.
United Kingdom-based social scientist Admore Tshuma said while the politburo was a perfect platform to discuss the matter, Grace was literally untouchable, as she was the president’s wife.
“By virtue of its design, the Zanu PF politburo is an appropriate place to map out strategies to deal with Grace because, by being Mugabe’s wife, she is high profile and untouchable,” he said.
“However, at this point, it is unthinkable that Zanu PF politburo members can seriously and productively debate Grace, who surely has been engaging in reckless political speeches.”
Bulawayo-based analyst Godwin Phiri suggested that since Grace’s tours were organised by Muchinguri, the guns may be aimed at her rather than the First Lady.
“The rallies were a product of the women’s league, an organ of the party. When the matter is tabled in the politburo, the outgoing chair, Muchinguri, will probably take the bullets,” he opined.
“Muchinguri, we are told was instrumental in the rise of Grace, so the postponement of the politburo gave the women’s league a perfect opportunity to adequately prepare responses.
“But I wonder who will criticise Grace.”
The analyst suggested that failure to rein in on Grace might spur her on in escalating her attacks. Asked what he read in Mujuru’s silence, Phiri said the vice-president could not risk taking Grace head on.
“Mujuru has little room to manoeuvre at the moment,” he said.
“The best and strategic thing to do is to submit to Mugabe and wait for an opportunity after the congress.
“Taking her (Grace) head-on in public will be tantamount to attacking Mugabe and that would be inviting the whole State machinery to descend on her.”
Meanwhile, as the Zanu PF infighting pans out ahead of the watershed December elective congress, there is a feeling that government business is on shutdown.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero told Southern Eye that the country’s governance had literally been suspended.
“The major shortfall with Zimbabwe’s ruling party is that it is run by people who cannot separate administering the party and running government,” he said.
“All ministers who hardly skip Zanu PF politburo meetings, but are mere visitors in Parliament where key policies are crafted, are now permanent features in Grace rallies.
“We wonder how they are managing ministries. What is clear is that jostling for posts ahead of the December congress has taken over administration duties and that’s a crisis.”