ZANU PF hawks pushing for the ouster of Vice-President Joice Mujuru at the party’s elective congress in December are reportedly subtly preparing outgoing Women’s League boss, Oppah Muchinguri, to take over the hot seat.
Impeccable party sources said the plot had the blessings of the First Family, hence First Lady Grace Mugabe’s verbal attacks on Mujuru during her countrywide “Meet the People Tours” over the past two weeks.
Although she was not explicitly mentioning Mujuru by name, Grace inferred that the Vice-President was fuelling factionalism in the party in a bid to dethrone President Robert Mugabe.
Sources added that Muchinguri agreed to the plot and gave up her Women’s League post after being assured of the vice-presidency.
Calls for Mujuru’s ouster went a gear up last week when Grace accused the VP of having actively participated in the formation of the opposition MDC-T and Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn parties, which she claimed were both hatched at her house.
“Oppah [Muchinguri] will likely challenge Mujuru at the congress. Some are pushing for Grace to do that, but the idea now is to make sure Grace leads women, while Muchinguri takes the VP’s post,” the source said.
The source added: “It explains their close links and rallies held in the last two weeks where Oppah has been with the First Lady and it explains the open rebuke of Mujuru by Grace. It is a plan that will work for the [Justice minister Emmerson] Mnangagwa faction.”
During her controversial provincial rallies, Grace also accused Mujuru of being corrupt and divisive.
Although Information minister Jonathan Moyo initially denied reports that Grace’s attacks were directed at Mujuru, weekend State media reports confirmed that indeed the Vice-President was the target.
The State media reports added that Mujuru’s fate would likely be sealed at tomorrow’s politburo meeting as the party announces its election guidelines.
As if to confirm the bad blood that now exists between Grace and Mujuru, the two snubbed each other when they met at Harare International Airport on Saturday as Mugabe and his wife left for Rome.
A few months ago, Mugabe indicated that all politburo members and members of the Presidium, including himself, would have to step down on the eve of the congress and allow for fresh elections.
Analysts said the move could be part of a plot to dump the likes of Mujuru who have been accused of plotting to unseat the 90-year-old Zanu PF leader.
Last week, anonymous analysts quoted by the State media proposed that Mugabe should be given free rein to handpick members of the Presidium.
Grace also alluded to that line of thought during her rallies.
Some Zanu PF youths have also joined in the campaign to denounce Mujuru and members of her alleged faction, labelling them “Gammatox”, in apparent reference to a toxic fumigant used long back to protect grain against weevils.
Although Mujuru has remained mum following the attacks, her sympathisers have hit back, describing their rivals as weevils bent on destroying Zanu PF from within.
Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena over the weekend told hundreds of party supporters, that he supported the First Lady’s push for faction leaders to be exposed.
“She [First Lady] said the faction leader was a woman and from Mashonaland Central and a woman. It is tough where we are heading to. It’s time to tell the truth,” he said.
Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he would comment after the dust had settled.