OFFICIALS in Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s office and senior Zanu-PF officials have denied reports that she has resigned, following pressure from President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who has publicly demanded that she quits her post.
A number of Zimbabwean online news websites reported yesterday that Mujuru had tendered her resignation to Mugabe on Monday.
The story was picked up by a number of South African and international news agencies.
Rumours of Mujuru’s resignation were awash on social media.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, however, dismissed the reports, saying they were propaganda aimed at discrediting the vice-president.
“There is nothing like that,” he said.
“That is outright propaganda. She is at work.”
Gumbo said the reports were part of a plot to force Mujuru to resign, describing it as nonsense.
“It is propaganda aimed at pressurising her to resign,” he said.
“She is the acting president right now. It’s the social networks peddling factional rumours.”
The online report claimed Mujuru had tendered her resignation to Mugabe, who declined to accept it and
instead advised her to finish what she had started.
Mujuru is presently the acting president after Mugabe travelled to Zambia for the burial of that country’s president Michael Sata who died a fortnight ago.
Mujuru, who in recent months had appeared to be on course to retain the vice-presidency at the Zanu PF congress next month after managing to seize control of the party’s structures, including provinces, has come under pressure from Grace and a faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Grace and the Mnangagwa faction have joined hands to derail Mujuru’s presidential ambitions, leaving the vice-president and her allies rattled — although some officials have publicly stood by her.
The First Lady, who is set to be named Zanu PF secretary for the women’s league, embarked on a countrywide tour to engage the grassroots under the guise of thanking people for nominating her.
She used the rallies to savagely attack Mujuru and her allies, accusing the vice-president of being an incompetent leader who piggybacks on Mugabe, while adding no value to the presidency.
She has accused Mujuru of abusing her office, subversion, extortion, underworld diamond dealings, corruption and a plot to topple Mugabe.
Addressing war veterans at her orphanage in Mazowe on October 23, Grace said Mujuru should resign on her own accord or risk being fired.
She revealed she was putting pressure on Mugabe to “baby dump” Mujuru.
As a part of a plot to stop Mujuru from retaining the vice-presidency — which will leave her in the driving seat to succeed Mugabe — Grace and the Mnangagwa faction have allegedly engineered the suspension of several provincial chairpersons linked to Mujuru.
The Mujuru faction had won control of nine of the 10 party provinces during provincial elections last year, leaving the faction well-placed in the succession race, given that the provinces are crucial in electing top leaders.
Five provincial chairpersons — Andrew Langa (Matabeleland South), Temba Mliswa (Mashonaland West), Killian Gwanetsa (Masvingo), Amos Midzi (Harare) and Jason Machaya (the Midlands) have had votes of no confidence passed on them.
A motion to kick out Mashonaland East chairman Ray Kaukonde is in the works, while State media reported that Bulawayo chairman Callistus Ndlovu was next in the firing line.
— M&G/Staff Reporters