FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday poured cold water on reported plans to force an early Zanu PF congress to push for a female Vice-President, saying the incumbents — Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — will finish their terms of office.
Source: Grace chides Mnangagwa plotters – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 1, 2016
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Zanu PF is sharply divided into two camps with the G40 faction, which is reportedly loyal to Grace, pushing for Mnangagwa’s ouster, while a rival camp sympathetic to the VP was backing him to succeed 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
In a surprise change of tack, Grace told the women’s league national assembly meeting in Harare that she fully supported Mnangagwa as she chided top officials plotting his ouster.
The G40 is reportedly fronted by party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, among others.
But Grace said although a resolution was made last year to have a female VP, it was not proper to continuously seek to divide Zanu PF with the emotive resolution which she said could be implemented at the next congress.
“We tabled a resolution that at the presidium we have three men,” she said as she gave unequal statistics of men and women in Cabinet, National Assembly, Senate, permanent secretaries, State university vice-chancellors, parastatal boards and principal directors.
“Your Excellency, we are two months away from the people’s annual conference and I need to reiterate that women made a resolution during the 15th conference in Victoria Falls that one of the two vice-presidents and second secretary should be a female.”
Grace said women did not give a time-frame within which the resolution should be implemented.
“We said that resolution must be made in 2016 in anticipation of the 2019 congress! Do you understand that? There are others going naughty about that resolution and they must stop it,” the First Lady said.
“We want you to understand that we made the resolution that was removed to be reinstated, but we didn’t say the President must remove Mnangagwa. We didn’t say that. Did we say the President must remove Mphoko? We didn’t say that and this is clear. That habit of calling for the sacking of these people (VPs) must end because if we do that, we will be dividing the party. This is not something that will grow our party.”
Grace, who was touted to take over from Mnangagwa, said people must be satisfied with their positions or wait for the next elective congress.
“Just to put the record straight, our resolution was misinterpreted. On this note, I wish to assure Vice-President and second secretary Mnangagwa and Vice-President and second secretary Mphoko that you have our full support,” Grace said amid wild ululations.
She constantly thanked Mnangagwa for the work he was doing to uplift women and also went on to unveil the party’s women affairs regalia alongside the VP’s wife Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Ironically, the First Lady allegedly campaigned and passed incendiary comments against Mnangagwa during her meet-the-people rallies, accusing him of planning to topple Mugabe in similar fashion to what former Vice-President Joice Mujuru reportedly sought to do.
At her instigation, many of Mnangagwa’s reported allies across the country were either fired or suspended from the party.
In his address, President Robert Mugabe said his government would look at ways of empowering women by appointing them to decision-making positions.
A tired-looking Mugabe, who often dozed during the meeting, said it was imperative for Zimbabwe to recognise women through equality.
Mugabe said he had received two invitations which were to officiate at the women’s league meeting and that to visit neighbouring Botswana to attend that country’s 50th anniversary.
Recently, President Ian Khama blasted Mugabe for his continued stay in power.
Mugabe said although they were friends with Botswana, he did not visit that country as he valued his party programmes the most, dispelling rumours of a diplomatic rift with the neighbouring country.