Cletus Mushanawani in MUTARE
First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe said she does not owe allegiance to alleged factions in Zanu-PF and that she does not belong to any individual, as she warned those using her name to settle their old political scores to desist from the practice.
Addressing thousands of people at Sakubva Stadium here during the fifth leg of her Meet the People Tour, Amai Mugabe said factionalism was rampant in Manicaland and she came face to face with it during her tour.
“I don’t belong to individuals, but to everyone,” she said. “As I have been touring the provinces, I have realised that if you are not careful you will be used.
“I have realised that there are some individuals with scores to settle and I want to tell you that you should not use my name to settle these scores. I have been listening carefully to some of the things being said and I have realised that most of them are useless.
“I have realised that the problem is rampant among leaders. I want to tell these people that I am a grown up woman who is 49 and will be turning 50 next year. I have no time to listen to rumours, so if you approach me you should be objective in our discussions.”
Amai Mugabe said factionalism was being practised openly in Manicaland where speakers during her rally were being selected on factional lines.
“Factionalism was displayed in my face here in Manicaland,” she said. “Some people are acting to please their bosses. I have realised that the use of money is at play here because some of the people’s actions here are meant to please a few individuals.
“We should have unity of purpose not to please a few individuals. Some of you architected Zanu-PF’s dismal performance in Manicaland during the 2008 harmonised elections. Through your actions, you want a repeat of 2008. We are here to stand for the truth.
“President Mugabe’s name is being tarnished. Some people are using President Mugabe’s name saying: ‘Pamberi nePresidium. Yaani Presidium yacho?
“If you are engaging in such acts, you are exposing yourself because we will know your character. You should be ashamed of yourself for being a factional leader.”
Amai Mugabe said there was a culture of fear in Manicaland where party members were being cowed by seniors not to freely express themselves.
“Mabasa ako iwayo ngaapere nekuti vanhu vanokumukira chibhenen’ene vakakukachikira,” she said.
“Some of our leaders have become masters of lying. There is too much use of President Mugabe’s name.
“Some people even pretend to be talking to President Mugabe or myself over the phone and yet nothing will be happening. We should not be selfish and no one has power in Zanu-PF. Power comes from the people and not individuals.
“Some individuals are now paying newspapers to attack Mai Mugabe. Some are publishing their own Politburo line-ups, what if President Mugabe fails to see it (the list)? Tichaona chekuona gore rino. Zvese izvi inyaya yekuti vaMugabe is 90 years. Vamwe venyu tikakumisai naVaMugabe anonzi ari over 90 ndiani?”
Amai Mugabe said some leaders’ conduct was driving people away from Zanu-PF.
“Some people are being forced to turn their backs on Zanu-PF because of factionalism,” she said. “If you look at people in the MDC you will trace some of their roots to Zanu-PF. Why do you blame people for not voting for you when you persecute them?
“In Harare, houses are being demolished, yet we are supposed to be taking care of our people. This is corruption which is starting from the top because where were you when these houses were being constructed?
Before moving in to destroy houses, you should ensure that there is alternative accommodation to the affected families. All this is being done to force people to revolt against Zanu-PF. This is factionalism at play.”
Amai Mugabe took a swipe at the people mandated to superintend over the party’s properties, saying they were a big let-down.
“Zanu-PF is busy empowering people, yet it is so poor,” she said. “What happened during the youth congress is not acceptable. Zanu-PF must be the richest party in the country.
“The party has assets, but they are being misused. It has companies, properties and buildings, but they are not being put to good use. People are used to being carried on President Mugabe’s back.”
During the Youth League conference in Harare in August, President Mugabe and Amai ended up donating tonnes of maize, cattle and milk after it was discovered at the last minute that no food had been provided for the youths.
Secretary for Administration Cde Didymus Mutasa was blamed for failure to organise the conference, with some accusing him of deliberately causing the embarrassment to the party in a bid to sabotage the conference which was likely to elect youth leaders he did not like.
Amai Mugabe said it was saddening to note that most opposition leaders were from Manicaland.
“Manicaland suffered the brunt of the liberation struggle, but it is surprising to note that almost all opposition leaders are from Manicaland,” she said.
“Some of you have carried the sell-out traits from the days of the liberation struggle. You should reform now.”
Amai Mugabe donated 10 tonnes of seed maize, maize-meal and food hampers to traditional leaders as well as the elderly.
“All the donated goods should be shared equally,” she said. “We do not want a repeat of what happened in Mashonaland West (where seed maize she donated under the Presidential Well-Wishers Input Scheme was stolen by a senior party official).
“I am still to meet the thief who looted my seed maize. He should return the seed or else I will make sure that his property is attached so that I can recover the seed.”
The First Lady’s Manicaland rally was attended by senior Government and Zanu-PF officials, among them Minister of Presidential Affairs Cde Mutasa, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made and Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri.
Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Cde Chris Mushohwe, Minister of State for Bulawayo Metropolitan Cde Eunice Moyo, Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development Engineer Munacho Mutezo, Deputy Minister of Finance Dr Samuel Undenge, Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Cde Supa Mandiwanzira and Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Cde Abigail Damasane also attended.