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Zimbabwe First Lady Dr. Grace Mugabe Pushes for Female Vice President

Zanu-PF provinces have welcomed the step taken by the party’s Secretary for Women’s Affairs, Dr Grace Mugabe, last Friday to clarify misunderstandings and misinterpretations of their proposal to have the party’s constitution amended to have a woman in the Presidium.

The proposal was read to imply that one of the current Vice Presidents should be removed to make way for a woman.

Addressing the Women’s League national assembly in Harare on Friday, Dr Mugabe said the two VPs – Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko – enjoyed the full support of the Women’s League.

Zanu-PF provincial chairpersons yesterday welcomed the clarifications by Dr Mugabe saying this put to rest unnecessary speculation in the party that one of the VPs would be axed at the forthcoming Annual National People’s Conference set for Masvingo in December.

The party’s Harare provincial chairperson, Cde Charles Tawengwa, welcomed Dr Mugabe’s remarks, saying it was President Mugabe’s discretion to choose his deputies.

“It’s a welcome development,” he said.

“It lays to rest all the speculation that one of the VPs was going to be removed from office. It’s you the newspapers who were writing about this – saying so and so is going to be removed.

“The First Lady has come out in the open and clarified the issue and I think this is a welcome development for the party.”

Cde Tawengwa’s views were supported by Midlands deputy chair Cde Daniel Mackenzie Ncube who said: “We respect the resolution that came out of the Victoria Falls conference (to amend the party constitution) and we also respect the decision made by His Excellency the President in picking his deputies.

“The First Lady should be applauded for that clarification.”

He continued: “Some of the misinterpretations on that resolution were bent on sowing divisions in the party by certain individuals.”

Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman Cde Richard Moyo said: “We gave all the powers to the President at our last congress. He is the appointing authority. He appoints his deputies and all Politburo members.

“When the women made their resolution, it was not said that it should be implemented tomorrow. Some people were already running around saying one of the VPs is facing ouster. We welcome the clarification by the First Lady because it makes everything clear.”

Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Cde Richard Makokove said they were already holding outreach meetings to explain the correct position to the people.

“Dr Mugabe’s remarks cleared the air on that matter. I think about 90 percent of the people had misinterpreted that resolution,” he said.

“During our district outreach meetings that we started in Chikomba yesterday, we are already explaining that to the people. We also resolved during our provincial coordinating committee meeting that we should disseminate information to the people clearing those distortions.”

Mashonaland West provincial chairperson Cde Ephraim Chengeta thanked Dr Mugabe for removing distortions around the matter.

“I have nothing to add or to subtract on what the First Lady said apart from thanking her for such remarks,” he said.

“Some were already saying things that are not part of that resolution. I think the First Lady did a good thing that we welcome as a party.”

In Mashonaland Central, provincial chairman Cde Dickson Mafios said the message from the First Lady was clear.

He said the resolution calling for the inclusion of a woman in the Presidium was part of the Zanu-PF constitution which was used to elevate former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru.

He said when Dr Mujuru was expelled the party constitution was not expelled as well.

“We concur with what the First Lady said,” he said.

“There is nothing wrong with having a woman in the top leadership of the party and it was there (in the party constitution) ever since. The First Lady was clear that they want their representation and she did not say today or tomorrow but in the future.”

Matabeleland South provincial chair Cde Rabelani Choeni said he had not yet heard about Dr Mugabe’s remarks and he would only comment on the matter today.

Provincial chairpersons for Masvingo and Manicaland provinces Cde Amasa Nhenjana and Samuel Undenge respective views could not be ascertained as they did not answer their mobile phones.

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