ZANU PF national chair Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has chided elderly male politicians who targeted ambitious young women for marriage and warned that they risked having their political careers derailed.
Speaking at a Zanu PF inter-district conference at the Masvingo Polytechnic yesterday, Muchinguri said former President Robert Mugabe’s decision to marry Grace — who was younger than him by nearly four decades — precipitated the former political strongman’s downfall.
“We should be builders, not destroyers like Stop It (Grace), who nearly destroyed Mugabe’s legacy. You should be careful not to marry young wives. We are warning you, they are always dreaming big. You should ask us to pray for you, otherwise you will fall because of them,” Muchinguri said.
Muchinguri, who is the Defence minister, reiterated that she was forced to step down as the party women’s league boss to pave way for Grace at a time the latter was ambitiously clawing her way up the hierarchy of Zanu PF.
She said Grace acted as a catalyst for the removal of Mugabe through the coup executed in November last year.
“When we were forced to relinquish women’s league posts, we did not know it would cost us. Several emissaries were sent to us to give up the post and hand it over to Chikwiramiti (Grace). We did not know, but God knew this person who took away the position from us who had no party experience was going to get in, scold senior party members and fast-track the process,” she said.
Muchinguri further claimed the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Shuvai Mahofa, who died of suspected food poisoning, was killed because she opposed Grace’s presidential bid.
“I am pained by the death of Mahofa. She was a straight-forward person who challenged Grace. That was why she was poisoned. I remember her saying ‘over my dead body’. That’s what caused problems for Mahofa. She was scolded for not supporting Grace,” she said.
Turning to developments within Zanu PF, Muchinguri said some party members were selling party regalia in nearby Mozambique and pocketing the proceeds.
She claimed that most of the regalia was looted ahead of the July 30 polls.
“Whatever trick you used to get regalia, you will get other regalia next time. There is some corruption to guard against in the party. We gave members regalia, but some of it is being sold in Mozambique. On Sunday, we were told that some Mozambicans were found with 500 pieces of regalia in Manicaland. There is business in Zanu PF. We give you regalia to give to (members in) wards, yet you divert it for sale,” she said.
“This explains why we got resistance from moving regalia from the airport to the President’s place. People were flooding the airport. We then searched some and saw one person wearing 20 T-shirts and others put clothes inside their trousers.”
She said some party leaders had pieces of regalia in all colours when party members that voted did not get any.
Muchinguri’s revelations come in the backdrop of disclosures by some party youths in Masvingo that they had nothing to show for Zanu PF’s victory, given the recurrent economic problems characterised by long fuel queues, price hikes and shortages of cash and some basic commodities.