HARARE – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted ambitions to succeed President Robert Mugabe suffered another hammer blow at the weekend after Mashonaland East and Bulawayo became the latest Zanu PF provinces to call for a return of the women’s quota system in the warring ruling party.
The two provinces join party structures in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central which have also said that they would like to see women represented in the former liberation movement’s presidium as soon as possible — a proposal that is likely to prejudice Mnangagwa if adopted.
Commenting on the critically-significant development to the Daily News yesterday, Zanu PF Goromonzi West MP, Beatrice Nyamupinga — who is also the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development — said she was in full support of the return of the quota system within Zanu PF.
“I am not the secretary for information, but as a woman I support the proposal. I see nothing wrong with what Mashonaland East has said for example.
“I applaud the women of Mashonaland East for their proposal. It is actually a requirement in our national Constitution that there should be a 50-50 percent representation between men and women, and the party presidium is not an exception,” Nyamupinga said.
Zanu PF insiders say if the push for a return of the party’s quota system succeeds, it will place in jeopardy Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions as it would be unlikely that he would be part of the party’s presidium in that event — with First Lady Grace Mugabe well-placed to replace him.
Were that to happen, it would be déjà vu for Mnangagwa, as the same quota system was also used against him in 2004, which saw the elevation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru to the presidium ahead of him then.
Nyamupinga said it was not right that any organisation or forum should sit in the total absence of women, adding that it was her duty as the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Gender to ensure that issues relating to the equal representation of women were pushed forward.
This, she said, would protect the rights and interests of women and the girl-child.
The Mashonaland West women’s league was the first to openly move to demand the return of a women’s quota system in the Zanu PF constitution, a clear statement that they wanted Grace to take over from Mnangagwa as party vice president.
The move to return the party quota system comes after it was discarded late last year, at the height of the post-congress Zanu PF’s factional and succession wars.
The embattled VP is currently embroiled in a bitter fight with the ruling party’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 (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 from power last year.
All this also means that next week could prove to be one of the most important and significant periods in the long political life of Mnangagwa when Zanu PF meets at its Victoria Falls conference, and as the war to succeed Mugabe gets hotter and nastier by the day.
Party insiders say the G40 are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding the increasingly-frail nonagenarian, and that the ambitious Young Turks are backing Grace to take over from her husband.
There is also growing talk that Harare will soon move to support the resolution by the other provinces, that the ruling party returns the women’s quota system at next month’s increasingly-important conference.
Sources also claim that all of Zanu PF’s provinces, except for Masvingo and Midlands, are pushing for Grace to become vice president as was recently and exclusively revealed by the Daily News.