Saturday, 9 December 2017

Grace Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa bust-up was over plans to honour Robert Mugabe – spokesperson

Robert Mugabe’s former spokesperson has told a private newspaper in Zimbabwe that relations between Grace Mugabe and then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa broke down irreparably over plans to honour his 93-year-old ex-boss.

The escalating fall-out centred around plans to build a billion-dollar university in Mazowe district north of Harare. The institution was to be named the Robert Gabriel Mugabe University.

To many in Zimbabwe, the university project appeared to be part of a plan to build a lasting legacy for Mugabe.

The longtime leader resigned after a military takeover in Zimbabwe last month. He had been in power since 1980. His wife Grace appeared to be eyeing out the presidency herself in recent months – and got Mnangagwa fired shortly before the military stepped in.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba told the Daily News on Friday that the university was Mnangagwa’s idea. But the project was taken out of Mnangagwa’s hands and given to former higher education minister, Jonathan Moyo, an ally of Grace’s.

‘It was a family affair’

Charamba told the paper: “I got to know about this strange outcome through Cabinet minutes when I read that Jonathan Moyo had made the presentation making the then vice president a guest in a project he had started.”

Moyo has not been seen in public since the military takeover on November 15 – though he has continued to tweet. He was a member of G40, the Zanu-PF faction that supported Grace and opposed Mnangagwa’s long-held plans to succeed Mugabe.

Charamba also told the Daily News that a project to finish the writing of Mugabe’s biography, started by the late nationalist Nathan Shamuyarira, was also suddenly given to Moyo – despite the fact that a respected historian was already working on the project.

“I got a distinct impression that the then president’s legacy had ceased to be a matter for his party, Zanu-PF but for preferred members working with the first family – it was a family affair,” Charamba said.

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