Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

“Dr Grace Mugabe for Vice Presidency”

By Xolisani Ncube

President Robert Mugabe‘s wife, Grace, should set her eyes on the ruling Zanu PF’s coveted vice-presidency, politburo member Edson Chakanyuka and Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Justice Mayor Wadyajena have said.

President Mugabe, his wife Grace and Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo
President Mugabe, his wife Grace and Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo (Pic by NewsDay)

Addressing hundreds of Zanu PF supporters in Gokwe-Nembudziya on Saturday, Chakanyuka and Wadyajena led the call for the First Lady to occupy a senior position in the party, arguing she was “one of the few people” who unites the party.

They argued that she must not be limited to the proposal for her to lead the women’s league, but must “go higher”.

The First Lady’s graduation with a Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Zimbabwe, Wadyejena said, qualified her for a higher post in the ruling party. She graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree and the title of her thesis was The Changing Social Structure of the Family: The Case of Children’s Homes in Zimbabwe.

This comes amid reports that the camp rooting for Vice-President Joice Mujuru to succeed Mugabe was digging in, coming up with strategies to land crucial posts at the Zanu PF elective congress in December.

“Let those who are opposed to her know this, as Zanu PF we are fully behind her and we want her up there,” Chakanyuka said, adding that: “We are going to defend her because we do not support those small factions that hate the president.”

Wadyajena, however, was more categoric, stating that the First Lady, set to become the party’s women’s league boss after the December elective congress, should now go for the vice-presidency.

“We don’t want her to end there (women’s league boss). We are saying, she should go higher, even to the presidium. She has the qualities which could make her challenge even for the vice-president post of the party,” Wadyajena said, to the ululation of party activists.

“She did her degree in silence and nobody knew that she was going to graduate with a doctorate unlike others who had made noises about their degrees. For her, she did it privately at the same time taking care of the president. It is a great honour for her and we think it would be prudent if she goes up there (sic).”

The women’s league, under the leadership of Oppah Muchinguri, nominated the First Lady to lead them, a move viewed by many as a plot to block the ascendency of Mujuru to take over from Mugabe.

Wadyajena said the proposal to have her go higher would enable her to take the party forward, as well as represent the interests of women and the youths in the presidium.

“When we talk about having a mother in Zanu PF, we are talking about her. She is a humble mother who, as youths, we would want her to go up as long as she wishes (sic),” he said. “The sky should be the limit for her. No one should stand in the way.”

The statement by the Midlands youthful politicians came as Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister, Martin Dinha, made similar remarks last week when traditional leaders paid a visit to the First Lady’s orphanage home.

“Mother, do not be scared, the country is fully behind you, even if we are insulted or beaten hatikendenge (we do not care). No doubt, amai, tinomira nemi (we will stand by you),” Dinha said. “December achisvika pindai pamunoda (Come December, get into any position of your choice). Ichi chitima cherusununguko. Ukaregera kujambira unosara (This is a freedom train, if you do not join the bandwagon, you will be left behind).”

Zanu PF has two vice-presidency posts, one reserved for ex-PF Zapu members in line with the Unity Accord signed in 1987 and the other one currently occupied by Mujuru.

At the December congress, the second vice-president post is eyed by several former PF Zapu stalwarts, current national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, ex-Youths minister Ambrose Mutinhiri and former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa Phekezela Mphoko, among others.

No one in Zanu PF has so far declared interest in challenging Mujuru.

Since her nomination to lead the women’s league in August, uneasiness has engulfed the party.

During the visit of the youths league at her orphanage before their conference, the First Lady claimed some top leaders in the party were plotting to ‘deal’ with her when Mugabe leaves active politics – a threat that Wadyajena said they would not tolerate.

“We hear that there are people who would want to drag the First Lady along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare so that they could embarrass her, let it be known today, it will not happen under this sun,” Wadyajena said.

Zanu PF is set to hold an elective congress this December, but Mugabe is likely to remain the party leader, going unchallenged, and it is on his deputies and the post of national chairperson where tussles are on the cards.

Two distinctive factions are said to be at loggerheads, plotting against each other to take over from Mugabe.

Mujuru is said to be leading a faction and so is Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, but they have both distanced themselves from the so called camps in the ruling party.

This is coming amid reports that the Mujuru faction was pushing for the congress elections to be conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to avoid rigging. The faction is also reportedly working hard to ensure secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa lands the chairperson position at all cost.

The faction, the sources said, was mooting a split in the event its candidates fail to land positions of their choices. Several meetings are reportedly lined up by the faction to concretise its plans. Zimbabwe Mail