16 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Grace Presidency in Sight As Zanu-PF to Amend Constitution to Accommodate Female VP

THAT president Robert Mugabe wants his wife Grace to be the next leader may have become undeniable at the weekend after Zanu PF's 10 provinces agreed to amend the party's constitution with the recommendation for a female VP taking centre stage.

The provinces also agreed that the extra-ordinary Zanu PF elective congress will go ahead in December and that the aged leader would be the party's candidate in next year's election.

Estry Mlambo-Madhuku, Women's League Chairperson, said the special congress will put the succession issue to rest.

"We want to reaffirm our position as the Women's League in Manicaland of being solidly behind President Mugabe. We have been advocating having one of the Vice-Presidents being a woman and the December special conference will help us to resolve this issue," she told the state media.

After the Harare Provincial Executive Council (PEC) meeting, provincial spokesperson, Abicia Ushewokunze, said:

"That President Mugabe is the sole candidate is not a debate, but idzokororo (repetition). We resolved that the constitution be amended as there are a number of issues yet to be addressed, especially the Women's League resolution on Vice Presidents. All conferences have passed this resolution... ..."

Embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been left in the lurch after Masvingo and Midlands provinces viewed sympathetic to his cause have both endorsed party plans to turn Zanu PF's December conference into an elective congress.

VP Mnangagwa, who hails from Masvingo, enjoys support from the two provinces.

President Mugabe and Grace have not hidden their frustrations with the two provinces they describe as havens for factional politics within the party.

With all signs pointing to a Mnangagwa lynching, all eyes were on Masvingo and Midlands to see if they also supported a controversial move already supported by the majority of party provinces.

But as it turned out, the two provinces supported the move after all. This was during hastily arranged weekend meetings held by party provinces to decide on congress suggestions.

Zanu PF Masvingo provincial information and publicity secretary Ronald Ndava told New Zimbabwe Sunday the restive province was in support of the resolution.

"We met today (Sunday) as a province and we passed two resolutions; first we were agreed that we should request the President to convene the congress, and secondly to affirm our position as a province that the President is the sole candidate for 2018 elections," he said.

Similarly, Zanu PF Midlands secretary for information Cornelius Mupereri also confirmed passing the resolution.

"We have passed the resolution.

"We did that as a protocol observing and law abiding province and we resolved that in the extra ordinary congress, there are three issues that are going to be discussed; the first one is the affirmation of the candidature of His Excellency, Cde R.G Mugabe," Mupereri said adding that the province resolved to back the BVR and polling station based voting system for next year.

Mupereri also denied the province was among Zanu PF's two problem spots adding that the resolutions were passed unanimously.

President Mugabe, who at 93, has reached the twilight of both life and political career, is seen making frantic moves to position preferred loyalists for party take over.

The move is thought to be his strategy to manage the fears of his young family and secure a giant family business empire from any vindictive expropriation by enemies when he is gone.

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