GRACE Mugabe is not looking to topple vice president and claimed succession rival Emmerson Mnangagwa, the First Lady’s deputy in the Zanu PF Women’s League said Thursday.
President Robert Mugabe’s wife recently launched a veiled attack on Mnangagwa, claiming the vice president was plotting to topple her husband as the succession rivalry spiralled out of control.
Tempers have calmed somewhat after an exasperated Mugabe intervened and demanded that everyone “shut up!”.
Ahead of the ruling party’s national conference last year, the Women’s League forced through a resolution for a constitutional change which would return a clause requiring one of the vice presidents to be a woman.
With vice president Phelekezela Mphoko seen as safe, Grace’s target was widely thought to be Mnangagwa.
The clause was introduced to allow Joice Mujuru to become one of President Robert Mugabe’s deputies. It was expunged in 2014 to facilitate her ouster.
But the push for its return by the Women’s League was seen as plot by Grace to get one over Mnangagwa in the party fight to succeed Mugabe who is now 92-years-old.
The women had also insisted on a 2016 deadline for the constitutional amendment.
However, league deputy chair Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo suggested Thursday that Mnangagwa was not facing immediate danger.
“It came to our attention as the Women’s League executive that our resolutions for the conference were not clearly understood hence we needed to clarify that,” Moyo told a State-owned Bulawayo daily.
“Resolution number three talks about the restoration of the position of women in the Presidium, which must be done through an amendment to the party’s constitution so that one of the Vice Presidents is a woman.”
Moyo said while the league wanted the constitutional change made this year, the woman vice president would only be elected at the party’s next congress.
“We’ve said we wanted the constitution to be amended by 2016 and not that we wanted the Vice Presidency by 2016,” she said.
“What we want this year is to have the constitution corrected so that when the time to elect leaders comes (at congress in 2018) one of the VPs will be a woman.
“This has to be clear so that we’re protected by the constitution as women.”
Moyo, who is also Bulawayo provincial affairs minister, said Grace was not interested in succeeding her husband.
“We want to set the record straight because some people are being misled,” she said.
“As the Women’s League … we always work and go with the First Lady and at no point has she declared an ambition for any higher post.
“In fact, she has said she is content where she is. People should stop giving her a position she has not asked for.”