Mugabe takes a swipe at Zanu-PF officials over Grace

Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has reportedly taken a swipe at some Zanu-PF party officials, accusing them of attempting to bar his wife, Grace from entering into mainstream politics. Grace Mugabe, a 49-year-old former typist, was recently nominated as chair of Zanu-PF's powerful women's league. She was also reportedly nominated to the Central Committee by the party's Harare province.

But reports have emerged that behind the scenes, some party officials have expressed unease about Grace's new political roll, with Harare’s provincial political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe demanding that Grace Mugabe should find  "a political home" elsewhere.

'Why should grace leave Harare'

A report said Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwawo claimed that he received calls from Mashayamombe who told him to "find a political home" for Grace saying she had no place in Harare.

The remarks were the clearest indication that there was some resistance within Zanu-PF over Grace's entry into politics, the report said.  

According to The Zimbabwe Mail, Mugabe, who arrived home on Sunday from a week-long visit to China, "lashed out at Harare's Zanu-PF provincial leadership", demanding to know "the king of Harare" who wanted his wife out of Harare.

"I want to hear why she should leave Harare, going where," Mugabe was quoted as saying.

The Daily News said on Monday that Grace's entry into politics has added momentum to the intriguing factional fights in the ruling party with her elevation seen by some observers as a cunning move by Mugabe to thwart the divisions, while others view it as an attempt by the Mnangagwa faction to court favour from the Mugabe clan.

Robert Mugabe and Grace
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace. (File: AFP)

Two factions, one allegedly led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and the other by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa  are embroiled in a bitter struggle to replace the 90-year-old Mugabe.