Zimbabwe, Mar 5 – Disgruntled ex-allies of President Robert Mugabe have unleashed a scathing attack against his wife Grace in court papers, accusing her of sowing unprecedented “hatred, malice and defamation” within the ruling party.
The statements came as part of an application to nullify the results of ZANU-PF’s December congress, where Grace was placed in an influential post and numerous opponents purged in ongoing infighting to succeed Mugabe.
“We want the court to invalidate the congress as it was illegal and unprocedural,” Rugare Gumbo, former spokesman for the ruling ZANU-PF, told AFP on Thursday.
Gumbo and the party’s former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa filed an application at the High Court challenging the December congress, which saw Mugabe stay on as leader while elevating his wife Grace to head of the influential women’s wing.
They cite the party, Mugabe and new party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo as respondents in their court challenge.
Several top ZANU-PF members were purged at the congress, including then deputy president Joice Mujuru and her allies.
Mujuru came under heavy attack from Grace Mugabe, who accused her of corruption, fomenting division in the party and plotting to topple Mugabe.
She was replaced by hardliner Emmerson Mnangagwa, seen as the favourite to succeed Zimbabwe’s 91-year-old veteran leader.
“We believe the holding of the congress was in breach of the party’s and the country’s constitution as many people had been purged or suspended without following the normal procedure where they appear before a court or committee,” said Gumbo.
“We want justice to be done. We can’t let some people get away with murder.”
The former ZANU-PF stalwarts also accused Mugabe’s wife of inciting hatred among party officials.
“The entry of Amai Grace Mugabe into the political scene became a serious source of conflict,” they said in court papers.
“Mrs Mugabe unleashed hatred, disrespect, malice, slander and defamation which in ZANU-PF had never been experienced even from our opponents in opposition politics.”
No date has been set for the matter to be heard.
Zimbabwean institutions are often biased in favour of the executive, though the high court is considered fairly independent.
Gumbo said if their court action succeeds, they will call another congress to elect new leaders.
He declined to say whether he would rejoin the party or bury the hatchet with Mugabe.
“We will cross the bridge when we come top it,” he said.