First Lady Grace Mugabe will resume her explosive rallies across the country early next month, in yet another clearest hint that the 2018 polls could be around the corner.
Grace revealed during last week’s Zanu PF central committee meeting in Harare that their aim was to sustain the momentum created by the party’s youth league through its interface meetings with President Robert Mugabe.
“We have also decided, as the women’s league, to follow the example of the youth league after they are finished with their programmes and also go around the country mobilising support,” she said.
The Zanu PF youth league has so far convened eight interface meetings addressed by Mugabe and is now left with only two provinces — Harare and Bulawayo.
Asked if Mugabe would be the star attraction at the rallies, Latina Undenge — the secretary for administration in the women’s league — referred questions to the wing’s spokesperson, Josephine Ncube.
Ncube was non-committal, telling the Daily News that “we have not yet sat down as an executive to discuss the logistics. So we will only be able to know the finer details when we eventually meet”.
Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News that the first lady was keen on going around the provinces with her husband.
This was corroborated by a national executive member of the women’s league who said it was absolutely important that their audience get to see Mugabe in person if their rallies are to be effective.
Despite his advanced age, the Zanu PF leader has surprised even his enemies by going through a punishing schedule without showing any signs of fatigue.
At some of the rallies, he spoke for more than two hours.
Mugabe will turn 94 in February 2018, and will be seeking to extend his tenure in office at next year’s polls beyond 37 years.
During her rallies, Grace is seen escalating her attacks on Mugabe’s lieutenants, including Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa whom he accuses of seeking to stampede her husband out of power.
Mnangagwa, a long-serving Mugabe loyalist, is under siege from a rival faction known as Generation 40.
During her address at a youth interface rally in Bindura a fortnight ago, Grace launched an acerbic attack on the Midlands godfather and party officials aligned to him.
The rallies are taking place at a time when Mugabe has proposed the idea of appointing a third vice president, which could make Grace’s rallies explosive.
There exists a school of thought which says Grace could land the third vice presidency, with the possibility of eventually taking over from her ageing husband, although she denies harbouring presidential ambitions.
The first lady is not new to rallies.
In 2014, she traversed the length and breadth of the country, through what she called “meet the people rallies”, convened soon after she took over as women’s league leader.
In February, she convened another rally where she addressed the people of Buhera in Manicaland Province.
The long hiatus had fuelled speculation with some saying Mugabe had suspended her rallies because they were serving no useful purpose except to fuel internal party strife.
After her latest string of rallies, Grace reckons that much of the job for the 2018 poll campaign would be done. Daily News