HARARE – In a speech to thousands of students gathered at the Zimbabwean first family’s farm in central Mazowe district, Grace Mugabe boasted that she had “trapped” the vice president.
She said she had a videotape of Mujuru accusing her of persuading the longtime president to stay on in power just so that the family could enrich themselves.
Just four months ago, Grace Mugabe, 49, played no part in Zimbabwean politics apart from appearing at her husband’s side during rallies and political functions.
But in July she was nominated to lead Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party’s powerful women’s league — and since then she has spearheaded an increasingly vitriolic campaign against Mujuru in an apparent bid to force her out of the party ahead of or during a congress next month.
Said Grace Mugabe on Monday in a speech shown on state ZBC TV: “You will be shocked to find that this is a person we called vice president for 10 years. You will be shocked. She must resign forthwith.”
Mujuru’s 10 years as vice president were “a waste of time,” the First Lady said as she paced up and down in front of cheering crowds.
“And you know what? I trapped her. Let me tell you I trapped her. There is more to come,” Grace Mugabe said in an apparent reference to the secret recordings she allegedly has of Mujuru.
The battle between Grace Mugabe – who is apparently part of a faction of the ruling party led by top official Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mujuru’s arch-rival – and Mujuru has dominated Zimbabwe’s news for the last two months.
At the weekend state media accused Mujuru of being part of a plot to assassinate president Mugabe, accusations the vice president has angrily refuted.
Grace Mugabe has not denied harbouring presidential ambitions herself, though it still appears unlikely she would take over immediately after her husband leaves power.
The president’s wife accused Mujuru on Monday of wearing a mini-skirt, adding: “Let me tell you, she was inappropriately dressed.”
Former education minister David Coltart said in a tweet: “Quite remarkable things said this evening on ZBC by Grace Mugabe regarding Vice President Joice Mujuru – this really has got nasty now.