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Mixed Feelings As Mnangagwa’s Wife Quits Parliament for First Lady Role

Harare — Opposition political parties have expressed mixed feelings over the resignation from parliament of the Auxilia Mnangagwa, supposedly to concentrate on her First Lady role.

The development also raised eyebrows as her husband, President Emmerson Mnangagwa who took over power last November, has a limited mandate and faces a tough fight to remain at State House in elections that must be held by August this year.

Some political parties warned of repeat of the “disruption of government” witnessed under the widely loathed former First Lady Grace as she became ever more influential ahead of her aged husband’s ouster from power last November.

Ms Mnangagwa was representing Chirimhanzu’s Zibangwe constituency in parliament, a seat she won in 2015 after a by-election.

However, husband President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Zanu PF supporters at a rally Saturday that his wife was quitting the parliamentary seat to concentrate on “her roles as the First Lady “.

Since her husband’s controversial ascendancy to the presidency, Ms Mnangagwa has notably made several unannounced visits to the country’s resource deprived public hospitals to assess the situation.

However, her decision to quit parliament for a full-on focus on her First Lady role drew mixed reactions from opposition parties in separate interviews with NewZimbabwe.com.

Some warned of a repeat of the interference in government affairs by Ms Mnangagwa’s predecessor Grace Mugabe who was thought to have effectively taken over power as her husband, 94 this year, was weakened by age and claimed poor health.
“The mysterious ascendancy of Emmerson Mnangagwa led to the creation of a second Grace Mugabe which is pointing to a chaotic interference of the First Lady in duties of the executive,” said Kurauone Chihwayi the MDC national spokesperson.

“She (Ms Mnangagwa) needs advice to avoid disruption of work in government institutions. She has been moving at supersonic speed and acting like a government employee and she should be shown the boundaries to avoid collision with state employees.”

CODE President Elton Mangoma accused President Mnangagwa trying to privatise Zimbabwe through giving his wife government duties which are constitutionally not her purview.

“We have seen her going around and, in most circumstances, undermining government ministers who are there by over stretching to executive powers,” said Mangoma.

“This is the same (problem) we witnessed during the Robert Mugabe era which is repeating itself and, as CODE, we are saying this is unacceptable and must be stopped forthwith.”

However, RDZ leader Barbara Nyagomo felt that Ms Mnangagwa had made the right decision.

“I think she has done the right thing by resigning as an MP and I wish her well in her role as the First Lady,” she said.

“We also say to her that the time for assessment and diagnosis is over it’s time for reconciliation and time to correct the mistakes her party Zanu PF made over the past 37 years which she had been part of.”

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