FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday warned hawks in the faction-ridden Zanu PF party she would only be silenced by a gun and would stop at nothing in admonishing divisive behaviour by party members though she did not harbour any presidential ambitions.
Grace said although she had no liberation war credentials, this did not disqualify her from reprimanding some wayward ex-fighters.
She said she would also not stop speaking against certain vices bedevilling Zanu PF.
The First Lady was addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters in the high-density suburb of Mbare in Harare during one of her Meet the People rallies.
“I am called Mafirakureva, I will die for the truth. People have a problem; they are used to blackmailing others so that whenever you say something, they question why you said it,” she said.
“When you say something bad that you have observed, they say you don’t want war veterans. Let me tell you: You will not get me.
You will never close my mouth, you can only come and shoot and kill me. You are not going to intimidate me.”
Grace has been linked to a Zanu PF faction of Young Turks known as G40, which is locked in a bitter power succession wrangle with another faction said to be led by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. However, the First Lady yesterday denied belonging to any faction.
Grace said despite many people linking her to a plot to take over from her 91-year-old husband, she was content with being the wife of the Zanu PF leader as we as being the Women’s League boss.
She said unless she was shot, she would resist any plot to kick her out of her position.
“People here are suffering while we are fighting for positions. Let me tell you: I am here as the wife of your President, a person you elected to lead the women and it ends there. Full stop! I don’t want anything more,” Grace said.
She said people may say whatever they wanted, but this would not deter her from her task to serve the people as she had the energy and would increase that to “90 horsepower, from 60”, if people continued gossiping about her.
Recently, the women’s league has been pushing for a woman to be appointed to the party presidium, raising suspicion that Grace was angling to succeed her husband, President Robert Mugabe.
“I am not going to tolerate bad things in Zanu PF, I will say it out. I will not stop because I stay with the biggest war veteran (Mugabe) at my house, a man who stayed 11 years in jail. His son died and he was not allowed to mourn him, and today, someone starts to say that I don’t like war veterans? Even my own brother was a war veteran. So how can I hate war veterans?” she queried.
She said the party would not just watch while some members brandished their liberation war credentials mischievously, hoping she would not reprimand them because she was not a war veteran.
“I do not hate war veterans, but they are some two or three who are misbehaving. Down with them! I don’t care whatever you say because in my house, I am cooking for a hero, a big war veteran,” Grace said.
The First Lady said war veterans had been infiltrated by people who were threatening to demonstrate against her, before daring them to go ahead and see the consequences.
Her rally was part of her series of rallies which will see her travel to Midlands today and then Mashonaland East tomorrow as she seeks to interface with the party structures and hear their grievances.
Source: News Day