First Lady Grace Mugabe’s presumed ambitions to elbow out Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the post-congress Zanu PF’s bitter war to succeed President Robert Mugabe got a massive boost yesterday.
The ruling party’s women’s league in Mashonaland West province openly moved to demand the mooted return of a women’s quota system in the Zanu PF constitution, a clear statement that they want the first lady to take over from Mnangagwa as party vice president.
Mnangagwa, who has since late last year been heavily tipped to take over from the increasingly frail Mugabe, was derailed by the same policy in 2004 when the women’s league again pushed for the elevation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru to be one of the nonagenarian’s deputies.
The move to return the party quota system which was discarded last year was deliberated in Chinhoyi yesterday during the women’s Mashonaland West provincial meeting.
Sources who attended the meeting and spoke to the Daily News on Sunday afterwards said there was “unanimous agreement” on the need for a woman to be in the party’s presidium.
“Provincial members, central committee members, national executive members and politburo members, including Senate president Edna Madzongwe, were among the more than 300 members of the women’s league who demanded a return to the quota system.
“This means that Amai is our candidate to occupy the VP post. It was also recommended that the youth leader, Vengai Musengi, be relieved of his duties on allegations that he was campaigning for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” the impeccable source said.
Under this arrangement, the women — with the assistance of Zanu PF’s Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) — will push for the party to revert to its old constitution at next month’s Victoria Falls conference, so that among the party’s top three leaders “one shall be a woman”.
Were this proposal to be adopted, it would put paid to Mnangagwa’s long mooted ambition to succeed Mugabe.
The embattled VP is currently embroiled in a bitter fight with the G40 in the bitter fight to succeed Mugabe, raising growing fears among his supporters that the Midlands godfather may go down in the same manner that Mujuru was deposed.
To add to Mnangagwa’s woes, the Harare youth provincial executive yesterday also moved to endorse Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 national elections, while “decidedly refusing” to name the VP as the nonagenarian’s deputy — leaving the man known as Ngwena (Crocodile) in limbo.
Sources also say all of Zanu PF’s provinces, except for Masvingo and Midlands, are pushing for Grace to become vice president as exclusively revealed by the Daily News last week.