President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has accused ruling party officials of abusing the name of his wife in the succession battle ahead of an elective congress in December.
The First Lady Grace Mugabe signalled her entry into politics early this month when she was endorsed to lead the women’s league.
However, senior party officials have been accusing each other of trying to frustrate the 49-year-old former personal assistant to the president’s rise into Zanu PF’s top echelons.
One of President Mugabe’s nephews accused the Harare branch of the ruling party of trying to push her out of the province on the grounds that she was not a member.
Zanu PF chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo said they were worried about the infighting that was being reflected in the media.
“Zanu PF is a mammoth organisation, a revolutionary party with massive membership and therefore its structures must be intact and its membership registers verified all the time,” he said.
“Zanu PF is not a media party and its operations cannot be conducted through the media.
Moyo added: “Zanu PF is a party of discipline and this must be reflected throughout its structures.
“On this note, I must warn the party leadership at every level not to use the media to abuse the First Lady’s name for whatever reasons.
“The First Lady must be respected at all times.”
The First Lady’s dramatic rise has been linked to the fluid battle to succeed the 90-year-old President Mugabe.
Her husband has been retained at the helm of the ruling party for another five years but various factions are said to be fighting to position themselves in case he decides to retire or in case he passes on.
There are two distinct factions in Zanu PF that are allegedly led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two deny accusations that they lead factions in the party.
President Mugabe has of late been speaking out publicly about the infighting in Zanu PF but analysts say he is losing grip of the party he has led since the 1970s.