Prosper Ndlovu Chronicle Reporter—
CLAIMS that Zanu-PF Women’s League secretary and First Lady Cde Grace Mugabe is nursing presidential ambitions are without foundation, her deputy Cde Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo said yesterday. The First Lady has found herself in the middle of a whirlwind of speculation about her political ambitions after the League, ahead of the People’s Conference last December, adopted a resolution that at least one of the three top positions in the party should be occupied by a woman.
Cde Moyo, speaking in an interview yesterday after the Women’s League national executive met in Harare on Wednesday, said this resolution had been misread to mean that the First Lady had ambitions to elbow out one of the two second secretaries (Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko) or indeed her husband, President Robert Mugabe.
Said Cde Moyo: “These reports of the First Lady harbouring ambitions to succeed His Excellency (President Mugabe) are misleading. We’ve not discussed that as the Women’s League and we don’t know where it’s coming from.
“It came to our attention as the Women’s League executive that our resolutions for the conference were not clearly understood, hence we needed to clarify that.
“Resolution number three talks about the restoration of the position of women in the presidium, which must be done through an amendment to the party’s constitution so that at least one of the Vice Presidents is a woman.
“We’ve said we wanted the constitution to be amended by 2016, and not that we wanted the vice presidency by 2016. What we want this year is to have the constitution corrected so that when the time to elect leaders comes (at congress in 2019) one of the second secretaries will be a woman. This has to be clear so that we’re protected by the constitution as women.”
Cde Moyo, who is also the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Bulawayo, said the League’s recommendation for a constitutional amendment should not be taken out of context and be confused with “succession politics”.
She added: “We want to set the record straight because some people are being misled.
“As the Women’s League, we’re in solidarity with the First Family. We always work and go with the First Lady and at no point has she declared an ambition for any higher post. In fact, she has said she’s content where she is. People should stop giving her a position she has not asked for.”
The First Lady assumed the post of secretary for women’s affairs in the Zanu-PF politburo in 2014, replacing Cde Oppah Muchinguri who stood aside. Despite repeatedly stating that she has no interest in a higher post, the media has feverishly linked her to a run for President, including claiming that she is leading a faction within the party.