“We have every reason to fear that the First Lady’s utterances could take the country back to the bloody era of 2008 when about 200 MDC-T supporters were murdered by Zanu PF activists who sought to safeguard President Robert Mugabe’s continued stay in office,” said CIZC in a statement.
“If anything, the statements by the First Lady explain Zimbabwe’s history of contested elections and also confirm sentiments by President Mugabe that he will not be removed from office by the stroke of a pen (implying elections).”
President Mugabe turned 92 this February and noticeably struggles to stay on his feet amid reports of increasingly failing health. But the Zanu PF leader, in power since 1980, refuses to step down and vows to run for another term in office at the next elections in 2018 when he will be 94.
Previously Grace has also declared that her husband would not retire, adding she would buy him a special wheelchair or take him to work in wheelbarrow if necessary. But, aware that the veteran leader cannot defy mortality, Grace told supporters at last week’s “Million-Men” that Mugabe would rule Zimbabwe even from the Heroes Acre.
CIZC deplored the remarks, warning that such utterances risked inciting violence against “known and perceived” opponents of President Mugabe “within and outside the ruling party”.
“Since the axing of former Vice President, Joice Mujuru from Zanu PF on allegations of planning to topple Mugabe, there has been an upsurge of intra-party violence in the ruling party … within Zanu (PF)
“ … as President Robert Mugabe’s loyalists bay for the blood of his (President Mugabe) perceived opponents and we fear the recent remarks by the First Lady could further worsen the situation,” warned CIZC.
The civil society organisation added that the First Lady’s remarks expose “unresolved succession issues within Zanu PF” that could fuel political instability which comes with “disastrous effects on the national economy”.
“CIZC implores the First Lady to desist from reckless statements that have the potential to cause unnecessary conflicts in the country,” the organization said.
“Moreover, the country’s Constitution is clear on Presidential term limits and goes further to lay out conditions for the removal of the President from office under Section 97 and President Robert Mugabe is certainly not immune in any way to the conditions outlined in the country’s Constitution.”