By Tendai Mugabe
Buhera — Zanu-PF Women’s Affairs secretary Dr Grace Mugabe has castigated power-hungry bigwigs fomenting divisions in the party, saying they should retire together with President Mugabe if they want him to leave office.
Dr Mugabe said she had no power to tell the President to retire as was being called for by elements in the ruling party.
The First Lady was speaking to thousands of Zanu-PF supporters who attended a Women’s League mobilisation rally here yesterday.
She said the President was given a mandate by the people of Zimbabwe in 2013, adding that people should be content with positions they were given by the appointing authority, both in Government and in the party.
Dr Mugabe was making her first meet-the-people rally for 2017 at St John’s Primary School.
The rallies also seek to unite party members ahead of next year’s elections.
“Some are saying President Mugabe is now old and should retire. No! At least myself, I can say that because I did not start with him in 1980,” said Dr Mugabe.
“I don’t want to be told that by a person who started with the President in 1980. You started together in 1980 and now you want to tell someone that you are old. No! That is unfair,” she said.
“If you want President Mugabe to retire, you go together with him and we take over. We were not there in 1980. Hatidi kudyiwa takasvinura sematemba. Hove chete ndiyo inodyiwa yakasvinura. I hear people saying that you still want to continue as First Lady of this country and that is why you are not telling (President) Mugabe to retire. Simply because I stay with him so I should tell him that you should retire? Did I vote for President Mugabe alone? Never. Don’t expect that from me. You can only say that to a fool, not to me.
“President Mugabe was voted into office by the masses. In 2018, the numbers are going to increase.”
Dr Mugabe said whoever was harbouring ambition without the blessings of President Mugabe was doomed. She said President Mugabe was the face of the Zanu-PF struggle.
She said some of the factional kingpins had no leadership qualities and should do self-introspection.
“Others are just spoilers. You may think that they are engaging in factionalism because they want leadership positions yet they know that they are spoilers who don’t qualify for leadership positions,” she said.
“Some people have a huge burden and we don’t want people with burdens. Let them carry their burdens – burdens of factionalism, burdens of causing divisions in the party and burdens of fighting others.”
Dr Mugabe said malcontents tarnished President Mugabe’s name.
She said Zanu-PF was privileged to have President Mugabe as its leader and that he was irreplaceable.
Instead of engaging in factional fights, Dr Mugabe said Zanu-PF should take advantage of divisions in the opposition to asset its dominance in all parts of the country.
Said Dr Mugabe: “We are not in control of our destiny. When growing up, no one knows that I will become a minister. I also never thought of standing in front of you addressing you like this. Wait for the people to say, ‘we support you and we want to work with you’. It’s not only about leading but also working with the people. There is something that people have to see in you to say you have all what it takes to be a leader.”
She continued: “I said that I am a whistle blower. (Sarah) Mahoka (Women’s League secretary for finance) bought me some whistles. They are there on my table and I will blow them when the time comes. I gave an example of a soccer match that all our objective in the match is to score.
“A soccer referee blows his whistle when there is a foul but the tone of the whistle is what determines the gravity of the foul. Time will come when we will blow these whistles. If we see that things are going out of hand, tinodziridza pembe zvekuti vanhu vanovharika nzeve.”
She said Zanu-PF should check on its strengths and weaknesses, saying factionalism was working against the party.
“If we are not serious about fighting factionalism, we can destroy all what we have built,” she said.
“You cannot destroy what others have built. Are we good at breaking? We are not. We must do better than that. Whoever is doing things that destroy the party should be ashamed. Whoever is engaging in factionalism should stop. You cannot go anywhere when you are divided,” said the First Lady.
“First look at yourself and see if you deserve a leadership post. Secondly, do you have leadership qualities? Are you a magnanimous leaders yourself? Are you able to do what President Mugabe was doing? If you are capable of doing that and list everything to us, well and fine. I said it before that we lie to each other. Leadership, we know each other. We know that you are capable of this and you are incapable of this. We know your level of ability. Let’s be patient.
“We have a leader who was chosen by the people. Let’s not cause divisions deliberately because maybe you know that you do not have chances in Zanu-PF and you just want to cause confusion.”
Dr Mugabe said the ruling party had a well defined structure and people know their positions adding that there was no vacancy at State House.
She said Zanu-PF was calling the shots as the ruling party and querried where challenges were coming from.
Dr Mugabe said Zanu-PF was voted into power and should do everything to deliver on promises it made to the electorate.
“Tiri kutonga ngatichibatisisai zvatapiwa,” said Dr Mugabe.
Dr Mugabe’s rally was attended my Zanu-PF Politburo and Cabinet members including Cdes Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Edna Madzingwe, Chris Mushohwe, Saviour Kasukuwere, Joseph Made and other senior Government officials.