THE seven former Zanu PF youth provincial chairpersons who were expelled from the ruling party last year on accusations of insubordination and disrespecting the party leadership have denied First Lady Grace Mugabe’s claims that their expulsion was linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe.
The former youth leaders yesterday labelled Grace “a liar” and accused her of using their names to scapegoat Mnangagwa.
“We were expelled for insubordination, but never appeared before a disciplinary committee or any party organ. We are aware she wants Vice-President Mnangagwa out of Zanu PF, but it is wrong for her to use us and others who have been expelled from Zanu PF for her selfish ends,” former Harare youth chairperson Godfrey Gomwe said.
“There was never mention of Mnangagwa when we were expelled. It’s a lie. We had urged the President to rein in his wife. The Zanu PF constitution has no position called First Lady. She is in the party as secretary for women’s affairs and that is how we were engaging her,” Gomwe said.
Grace in her speech at a youth rally in Bindura at the weekend warned Mnangagwa against associating with expelled people indicating the youths were being purged in his name.
Former Midlands provincial youth chairperson Edmore Samambwa said Grace had used the then youth chairpersons before dumping them.
“I feel abused by the First Lady. She dumped us because she knew we would not fit into her plot. But the truth is she is aware of our capacity, hence they made sure we were stampeded out of the party in order to push through their agenda without being questioned,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by former Matabeleland South youth chairperson Washington Nkomo.
“If there is anyone we were close to was the First Lady. Now she must tell the nation if we were expelled for being loyal to her. Mnangagwa never featured in any of our conversations or meetings. He was not there when we met her. It is wrong for the leadership to organise rallies for use in demonising an innocent man,” Nkomo said.
His former Mashonaland West counterpart Vengai Musengi said they were fired by Zanu PF’s G40 faction after they had called on Mugabe to stop his wife from denigrating other party leaders and fuelling divisions.
Former Bulawayo Zanu PF youth chairperson Khumbulani Mpofu weighed in saying: “We were just bundled together and expelled for insubordination, not any association with Mnangagwa. The First Lady should not seek to hide behind our expulsion in order to expel Mnangagwa. He is a hardworking and loyal party cadre whose history says it all. If he has any indiscretions the party should deal with them directly, not to sneak around,” Mpofu said.
Another former provincial leader, Thabani Nyoni, from Matabeleland North also accused Grace of using the group and turning “on us when we needed her the most”.