The Herald (Harare)

27 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Harare Offer's First Lady Key Slot

Photo: New Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe kissing his wife Grace

Zanu-PF Harare province has offered the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe a position in the powerful Central Committee ahead of the party's elective congress pencilled for December this year.The Central Committee is zanu-pf's integral decision-making body outside congress.

If the First Lady accepts the offer, she will be appointed in December and most likely together with the post of Women's League boss recommended by the Women and Youth League conferences this month.

The offer of the Central Committee brief comes in the wake of reports that some senior party members in Harare Province were making strenuous efforts to push the First Lady from Harare Province to Mashonaland West, where President Mugabe hails.

zanu-pf Politburo member Cde Patrick Zhuwawo, has since confirmed that Harare provincial political commissar Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe approached and advised him to find a "political home" for Amai Mugabe in Mashonaland West.

Cde Mashayamombe allegedly claimed that Amai Mugabe did not have a place in Harare.

In a dramatic turn of events read as damage control, zanu-pf Harare provincial chairperson Cde Amos Midzi yesterday said they had reserved a Central Committee position for the First Lady.

"We are pleased to also announce that as a province, in addition to supporting Amai Grace Mugabe for the position of National Secretary for Women's Affairs, we have decided to reserve a Central Committee position for her," he said.

"Further to our statement that we issued yesterday, we would like to update members of the Press on the latest developments regarding the position of Harare province vis-a-vis the resolutions passed by National Youth and Women's Conferences, on the matter of supporting the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe for the position of National Secretary for Women's Affairs.

"This afternoon, we have sat as the Provincial Elections Directorate and have overwhelmingly reaffirmed the position as contained in the letter that we wrote on 13th August 2014, as a province to the national chairman Cde SK Moyo, who is also the chairman of the National Elections Directorate."

In their letter to Cde Khaya Moyo, the Harare province indicated that Amai Mugabe was a zanu-pf member under Robert Mugabe district in Harare province.

Cde Midzi described reports that Harare Province had not embraced the resolution of the Youth and Women's League conferences as "mischievous and misdirected."

However, Cde Zhuwawo on Monday confirmed receiving phone calls from some members of the Harare Province imploring him to "accommodate" the First Lady in party structures in Mashonaland West.

This is despite the fact that the First Family had always been voting at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield, Harare.

Cde Zhuwawo said he engaged fellow Politburo member from Harare Cde Tendai Savanhu to resolve the matter.

Contacted for a comment yesterday, Cde Mashayamombe simply said: "MaComrades chimbomirai henyu kana ndave ready ndinokubatai."

Harare Province also convened a Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meeting yesterday.

In an interview after the meeting, Cde Midzi said it was not the party's tradition to share the details of internal meetings with the media.

Pressed to comment on the issue of Cde Gomwe who was said to have been on the agenda of the meeting facing charges of organising youths that went to Mazowe to endorse Amai Mugabe Cde Midzi said, "There was never an issue about (Cde) Gomwe having gone to Mazowe with the youths.

"In fact the first time when members of the Women's League went to Mazowe, we as Harare Province added two more buses to assist women to go to Mazowe. And now, how can we turn around and be negative?"

It is understood that some youths were asked to sign a petition to pass a vote of no confidence in Cde Gomwe's leadership before yesterday's meeting.

However sources that attended yesterday's meeting said the idea to charge Cde Gomwe on that basis was dropped after a realisation it was frivolous.

"It was a tall order to charge Cde Gomwe on the pretext that he organised youths to go to Mazowe and even to try and dismiss him via a petition," said the source.

"They devised a new trick and some district chairpersons were coached to raise complaints about Cde Gomwe's leadership and it was later agreed to call him for a disciplinary hearing at a date to be advised."

The source said Central Committee member Cde Tsitsi Jadaga made attempts to denounce Politburo member Cde Cleveria Chizema for presiding over a meeting that was held on Sunday in Highfield which called for the dismissal of Cde Midzi.

This was thwarted by members of the Youth League who argued that it was unfair to criticise Cde Chizema but choose to be silent on the matter of deputy Youth League chair Cde Edison Takataka who was assaulted in the presence of another Politburo member Cde Tendai Savanhu.

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