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