October 22, 2014, 9:55am
Grace Mugabe summons war veterans
FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly summoned war veterans and collaborators for a meeting at her Mazowe Orphanage Home tomorrow, amid reports that she wanted to railroad the former freedom fighters to endorse her political ambitions.
Well-placed Zanu PF sources told NewsDay yesterday that Grace’s meeting with war veterans — coming shortly after she hosted members of the Zanu PF Women’s League, Youth League, pastors and traditional leaders — had initially been scheduled to take place two weeks ago, but had to be suspended to give way to Grace’s whirlwind tour of provinces.
The visits culminated in her nomination to lead the Zanu PF Women’s League, setting the stage for her grand entry into the political limelight.
However, the latest invite to the war veterans is likely to increase the rift between the two warring factions of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association led by Joseph Chinotimba and Jabulani Sibanda, respectively.
While Chinotimba yesterday confirmed that his group would attend the Mazowe meeting, Sibanda said he was unaware of the event.
“We are going there in full force and I will be leading all veterans meeting at Mazowe. There is nothing wrong in war veterans visiting Amai (Grace)’s orphanage home,” Chinotimba said.
“If Jabulani has not yet been invited, I hope he will get the invite before the date because we have both agreed to endorse Amai and I, therefore, see no reason why he should be left out of such an occasion,” he said.
Sibanda said: “I don’t know about the meeting. As a national liberation association, we have requested through the secretary-general to see the President (Robert Mugabe). That is what we are waiting for. The other one I am yet to be apprised. I just heard that the meeting was supposed to be held two weeks ago, and was postponed.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators’ Association interim chairman Joseph Kandemiri also professed ignorance about the Mazowe meeting, but a member of his association confirmed receiving the invitation.
“We will be in Mazowe on Thursday (tomorrow). We have been invited,” said the former war collaborator who declined to be named.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba could not be reached for comment last night over the Mazowe meeting.
Sources said Sibanda could have been deliberately left out following allegations that he had snubbed the First Lady’s Meet the People rallies which attracted bumper crowds drawn from Zanu PF’s top hierarchy to the grassroots structures.
The First Lady used the platform to publicly denounce all perceived Zanu PF faction leaders including Vice-President Joice Mujuru, whom she described as corrupt, divisive and unfit to retain her post at the party’s elective congress in December.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF will tomorrow hold a potentially explosive politburo meeting following Grace’s unrestrained attacks on Mujuru and other top party leaders during her whirlwind provincial tours.
Among a litany of charges, Grace also inferred that the opposition MDC and Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn were formed in Mujuru’s house.
Grace had no kind words for the five leading candidates for the vacant vice-presidency post, accusing them of fanning factionalism.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday declined to shed light on the meeting’s agenda, although there is wide speculation that the Grace issue would be tabled for discussion.
“There is nothing I can talk about now, wait until the politburo meeting is through that is when I can be able to tell you about issues discussed,” Gumbo said.