Zimbabwe: First Lady Grace set to get the nod for second top party post, alongside Mugabe

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    In 2004, Zanu-PF made a provision in its
    constitution for a woman vice president, which was changed 10
    years later when Joice Mujuru was ousted from the party on
    accusations of plotting to replace Mugabe. This paved the way
    for the elevation of the now former vice president Emmerson
    Mnangagwa, who served less than three years before being booted
    out on similar accusations.

    Speaking at the Zanu-PF youth rally on Wednesday,
    youth leader Kudzai Chipanga said the youth were behind Grace
    Mugabe as the right candidate for the vice presidency due to
    her loyalty to the President as well as being motherly to
    everyone.

    As our president we know you respect the rights
    and role women played even during the liberation struggle but
    we are seeing the politburo and presidium dominated by men.
    What is stopping you from re-amending the constitution to pave
    way for a female vice president,” said Chipanga.

    The sacked vice president is said to have tried to
    skip the country into Mozambique, but in vain. A statement from
    somebody that some believed to be Mnangagwa was circulating on
    Wednesday on social media, citing that he (Mnangagwa) had left
    the country after receiving death threats.

    Speaking at the youth rally, Minister of State in
    Manicaland Province Mandi Chimene said, “He (Mnangagwa) thought
    running away will do but you can’t leave Zimbabwe that easy.”
    She added that Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction team, still in
    various ministries, must be sent packing and dealt
    with.

    Zanu-PF political commissar and minister of local
    government Savior Kasukuwere offered the same sentiments at the
    rally. “We didn’t know we have a border jumper in the
    presidium,” Kasukuwere said.

    During the
    youth rally, Dickson Mafios, Masholanand Central provincial
    chairperson, said the sacking of Mnangagwa was long overdue and
    comes as a relief.

    As a lawyer we thought he understands the party
    constitution that you don’t go and forcibly take power from a
    president who appointed you, but you wait for the right time to
    come, follow the correct and democratic process,” says
    Mafios.

    In his speech, President Mugabe said, “Some will
    cry, saying they have lost their leader (Mnangagwa) because
    your leader strayed from the values and direction of the party,
    falling in the same trap that saw the ouster of
    Mujuru.”

    Mugabe added that Mnangagwa was not an infant in
    the party, but stooped so low by doing things not in line with
    the party’s principles and values.

    The ball is now on the “one centre of power”, as
    was the slogan at Wednesday’s youth rally to implement the will
    of all 10 provinces including the women’s and youth leagues, to
    confirm Grace Mugabe as Mnangagwa’s replacement.

    Grace Mugabe in her speech said, “I will help him
    (President Mugabe) to make the country prosper.”

    Robert Mugabe hinted that the resolutions and
    recommendations will be discussed and looked into at the coming
    congress. These include the endorsement of his wife by 10
    provinces, including the women’s and youth
    leagues.

    Meanwhile, the Zanu-PF politburo had a special
    meeting after the youth rally, which was expected to finalise
    the fate of Mnangagwa.

    While the ruling party leadership and its
    supporters were celebrating the ousting of Mnangagwa together
    with his allies, life for ordinary Zimbabweans continues to
    worsen. The southern African country continues to face myriad
    challenges such as cash and foreign currency shortages,
    unemployment and an unprecedented increase in goods and
    commodities.

    Daily Maverick spoke to fruits vendor and
    father of three children Tichatonga Munyikwa, 52, who
    highlighted how the infighting in the ruling party makes him
    unsettled and that the state was not addressing the real issues
    affecting the country.

    These are the people we are looking up to as our
    leaders. Years back Mugabe sacked Joice Mujuru for trying to
    kill the president and that is the same charge on Mnangagwa.
    Why all these years should they want to kill the president
    now?” Munyikwa said.

    Munyikwa has been greatly affected by the cash
    shortages as he has been unable to send his children to school.
    “No one is taking our issues as our leaders are busy chasing
    each other. There is need for a change of government to enable
    development and progress in the country,” Munyikwa
    added.

    Terry Mutsvanga, a human rights activist based in
    Zimbabwe, did not have kind words for the ruling party. “As
    long as the lion is devouring its own cubs, it doesn’t matter
    to me because for 37 years these people have been together and
    have been eating from the same trough, they have to clean their
    own mess alone so it won’t affect the ordinary Zimbabwe,” said
    Mutsvanga.

    Mutsvanga encouraged Zimbabweans to register to
    vote in their numbers for the 2018 election and ignore the
    infighting if their plight was to change. “In fact, the
    fighting is a diversion from the urgent matters affecting the
    country,” Mutsvanga said.

    The greatest fear among worried
    Zimbabweans was the possibility or even likelihood of a
    war.
    DM

    Photo: Robert and Grace Mugabe at the Zanu-PF
    headquarters during the youth rally held in Harare on
    Wednesday. Photo: Sally Nyakanyanga.

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