DESPITE facing massive resistance in Masvingo, over claims that there were machinations to propel her to succeed her ageing husband, First lady Grace Mugabe has not given up on the province and is expected to address a rally at Mushayavanhu Business Centre, outside Gutu Mpandawana Growth Point today.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Grace last month did not turn up for an expected rally in Masvingo – a perceived stronghold of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa – with sources claiming she had received intelligence that a frosty reception awaited her.
She was billed to address a national annual conference for war collaborators at Mucheke Stadium.
Weeks later, Masvingo province resolved, at its inter-district conference, that it recognised Grace only as the leader of the women’s league, dealing a blow to her reported ambitions for the presidium.
Other provinces, however, kept her hopes alive by resolving to re-introduce the women’s quota system in the Zanu PF presidium.
Ruling party sources yesterday said that Grace had decided to go to Gutu District, instead of holding her rally in Masvingo city, where she could have been embarrassed by a low turnout.
“After her last intended visit, she has changed tack, after being briefed by intelligence of resistance in Masvingo city,” a source said.
“She also feared a low turnout at Mucheke Stadium and has opted for the rural areas, where village heads and chiefs can be told to frog-march people.”
Another source said Zanu PF members in Masvingo should brace for a tongue lashing from Grace, as “payback” for thwarting her ambitions.
“Obviously some people will be dressed down by Grace over the resolutions ahead of the conference. Masvingo was clear that they respected Grace as the wife of the Head of State and women’s league leader and just that,” the source added.
This is Grace’s last rally ahead of the Zanu PF conference and it might set the tone for what her supporters will demand at the annual party meeting.
Zanu PF provincial spokesperson, Ezra Chadzamira, could not be reached for a comment yesterday, as his phone went unanswered.
The party has reportedly been torn between two factions pitting Grace and VP Mnangagwa.
The two are engaged in a subtle, but fierce tug-of-war to strategically position themselves for the eventual takeover of the presidency in the event that Mugabe (91) retires or is incapacitated.