FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly moved in to rescue her Manicaland ally, Letina Undenge following her loss in the Zanu PF primaries ahead of a by-election for the Chimanimani East constituency.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Letina is Energy minister and Zanu PF provincial chairperson, Samuel Undenge’s wife.
Sources told NewsDay Undenge wrote to Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere claiming the people who voted for the winning candidate and rival, Nokuthula Matsikenyere, were not in the ruling party’s structures.
“Letina wrote to the national commissar, complaining about the people who voted. She claims Matsikenyere bussed people, who are not even in the party’s structures in order to win the primary election and represent the party in the upcoming by-election,” NewsDay heard.
Kasukuwere confirmed receiving a complaint over the internal poll.
“She has raised some concerns and we are going to look at them next Sunday,” he said without providing further details of the nature of Undenge’s “concerns”.
Insiders claimed Grace had been stung by Undenge’s loss to Matsikenyere, who is linked to a faction of the ruling party fronted by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa and Grace are reportedly locked in a bitter tussle for control of the ruling party, as they look beyond 92-year old President Robert Mugabe’s tenure.
“Tyson (Kasukuwere’s nickname) is under instructions from Amai (Grace) to ensure Undenge is the candidate, as her loss was a big blow to the faction. You must also understand that the relationship between the Undenges and Grace runs deeper than just belonging to the same political faction. Letina is Grace’s representative in the Cashel Valley project that was inherited from former vice-president Joice Mujuru,” another source said.
Undenge was not available for comment, but a confident Matsikenyere did not mince her words.
“I have never been in-charge of party structures. Zanu PF has a commissariat department and if anyone wants to know members of the party, it is those in charge of the province,” she said yesterday.
“I am confident that Zanu PF members found it in them to vote for me to represent their interests. I am ready if anyone feels aggrieved and wants a re-run of the primary elections.”