Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally has reportedly claimed that he was the one who organised youths and war veterans to heckle the then first lady Grace Mugabe during an ill-fated Bulawayo presidential youth interface rally in November.
According to NewsDay, the ex-war veteran minister Tshinga Dube said that the move was part of plans to clip Grace’s wings, as she had become “uncontrollable” and “lacked respect for the party elders”.
“I want to tell you this for the first time. I was the one who organised that booing on the First Lady. I organised some war veterans and youths in Bulawayo and agreed that if she starts to insult the party leadership and members, they would then boo her. And it worked,” Dube was quoted as saying.
Mugabe was incensed by party youths who booed Grace and disrupted her speech, as they denounced her as “too junior” before breaking into a mocking song Into Oyenzayo Siyayizonda (We don’t like what you are doing).
‘Lack of respect’
It was at this rally that Mugabe threatened to sack the then vice president Mnangagwa from his position in government, accusing him of fanning factionalism within the party and undermining his authority.
He was also accused of plotting to topple the nonagenarian.
Dube said that he had never seen Mugabe that angry.
Said Dube: “I had not seen him (Mugabe) angry like that. He was very angry about that (booing). But I must say this heckling gave an insight of what was to come. She (Grace) lacked respect for the party elders and her verbal insults were now becoming uncontrollable and we thought that should end. She lacked respect for the party’s core values and we said no to that and, as you can see; now she has fallen down.”
Mnangagwa was fired two days later, before Mugabe himself was forced out of power following the military intervention that saw him being put under house arrest together with his wife.
Mnangagwa briefly went into exile, returning after two weeks to become the country’s new president.