Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe has warned of a possible coup plot arising from growing tensions within Zanu-PF as candidates jostle for position to replace incumbent President Robert Mugabe.
She claimed that supporters of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa threatened the lives of those who did not support his bid to replace the 93-year-old Robert Mugabe as leader of the party.
A visibly angry Grace Mugabe departed from a prepared speech she delivered at an event in Harare to attack Mnangagwa.
“We are being threatened night and day that if a particular person does not become president we will be killed,” she told the gathering.
“We will not bow to that pressure. They say there will be a coup, but no-one will recognise you. The African Union will not recognise you, the SADC [Southern African Development Community] will not,” she declared.
The first lady’s outburst came in response to comments made by Mnangagwa that he was poisoned in August.
The vice-president said he fell ill at a political rally led the Zimbabwe president and had to be airlifted to a hospital in South Africa.
His supporters blamed a rival group within Zanu-PF of poisoning him, saying that ice cream from the first lady’s dairy farm was poisoned.
She dismissed the suggestions, saying “Why would my dairy business prepare a single poisoned ice cream cup just for him? Why would I want to kill him? I am the wife of the president. Who is Mnangagwa, who is he? What do I want from him?”
Mnangagwa told reporters prior to the first lady’s tirade that doctors had confirmed taht he was poisoned, but called it “false and malicious” to insinuate that the first lady was involved.
Mnangagwa has worked with the president for more than 40 years and has been instrumental in previous election victories and even pledged unwavering loyalty to the party and the president.
But with tensions in the party on the increase as positions are jockeyed for, anything is possible and no position is guaranteed.