03/02/2018 14:44 SAST | Updated 03/02/2018 16:53 SAST

Are Grace Mugabe's Allies About To Launch New Party?

Members of a ruling party faction loyal to former first lady Grace Mugabe are reported to be about to launch a new party in Zimbabwe

Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace Mugabe looks on during a national church interface rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Harare - Members of a ruling party faction loyal to former first lady Grace Mugabe are reported to be about to launch a new party in Zimbabwe.

In documents circulated on social media the party, calling itself the New Patriotic Front (NPF), accused SADC and the AU of "dereliction of duty" for failing to condemn the military takeover that removed Robert Mugabe from power last year.

It called on the two continental bodies to "openly renounce and condemn "the takeover as a "military coup". An AU force should "monitor and ensure demilitarisation of politics, state and government institutions", the document added. It also urged the AU and SADC to cut diplomatic ties and co-operation with the government and to no longer recognise Zimbabwe as a member.

Expelled from Zanu-PF

News website NewZimbabwe.com reports that the document was circulated on Friday by Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who his believed to be in exile in South Africa

There has been no confirmation yet that other leading figures of the so-called G40 faction, who include former higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, are in support of the new party. Most high-profile members of the faction, including Grace Mugabe, were expelled from the ruling party in November.

In a "consultation document" circulated on social media, the party said traditional supporters of Zanu-PF, including youths, now felt "alienated by the military and without a political home".


'Nominate Grace'

It said the "reversal" of some of Mugabe's controversial policies had "shocked" many of the party's followers. Mnangagwa's government recently watered down black empowerment laws, which had required large white and foreign-owned firms to cede majority shares to blacks. That policy will now only apply to the platinum and diamond mining sectors. The government this week extended 99-year leases to white farmers who, until now, were only given five-year leases.

Reaction to the consultation document on social media was mostly critical on Saturday.

Independent MP, Temba Mliswa said in a tweet: "If G40 feel they have political relevance why don't they just field their candidates in the upcoming elections and nominate Grace as their Presidential candidate?"

Loss of power

Reacting to the party's call for the AU and SADC to intervene in Zimbabwe, media watchdog Zim Media Review said on Twitter: "Remember when these same people used to mock (the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC party) for calling for international action on Zimbabwe? Who'd have imagined that ZANU-PF people would one day call for sanctions on Zim. Loss of power.