Harare – In an astonishing turn of events, reports from Zimbabwe say allies of former first lady Grace Mugabe could join ranks with ex-vice president Joice Mujuru to mount a challenge to new president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mujuru was sacked by Mugabe four years ago at the instigation of Grace Mugabe, who accused her of plotting to topple her husband from power.
But this week Mujuru, who now leads the National People’s Party (NPP) visited the former president who offered his apology and said he’d been misled about her. Mugabe, who was forced to step down to allow Mnangagwa to take power after a military takeover in November, is said to be feeling “betrayed” and “abandoned“, according to the Zimbabwe Independent.
Now the state-run Sunday Mail, which is loyal to Mnangagwa’s government, claims that the former president has “given his blessing to the creation of an opposition political party that will bring together G40 and the NPP”. G40 is the faction of the ruling party that backed Grace to take over from Mugabe. It was thwarted by Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction during the takeover – but some of its exiled members appear to be clinging on to the idea of a comeback.
“The initial plan was to have Grace lead the party, but then the name Joice Mujuru came up as a compromise because Grace’s political activities are still fresh in the minds of the nation,” an unnamed intelligence source told the Sunday Mail.
Grace “loves the idea”
Another source told the paper: “Mujuru is just a pawn in this game which is tailored to upstage President Mnangagwa’s administration.”
The private Daily News said that Grace “loves the idea” of joining forces with Mujuru.
Paddington Japajapa, the NPP’s deputy national organising secretary told the paper that Mugabe had pledged support for Mujuru in the presidential elections expected around July. “G40 members are coming on board; former first lady Grace Mugabe loves the idea,” he said. The official did not however confirm that a new party would be formed.
Mujuru and her supporters came under attack in a suburb of Harare on Thursday. Reports say that several people were stoned. Though Mujuru claims that supporters of the ruling party and Mnangagwa staged the attacks, that’s not been proven. There are separate claims – unverified – that Mujuru’s bodyguards may have prompted the attacked by heavy handling of crowds.