DIVISIONS have reportedly
rocked the Zanu PF women’s league over the choice of a candidate to stand as
Vice-President in the event the party agrees to their demands to reinstate a
constitutional clause stipulating that one of the party’s deputies be a woman.
However, the campaign seems to have hit a snag amid reports top women’s league members were now fighting each other after they failed to agree on First Lady Grace Mugabe’s candidature.
“There were chaotic scenes during the women’s league national executive meeting held in Mazowe last week. Sarah Mahoka (Hurungwe East MP) initially complained about plots to expel her from the party and constituency, but the First Lady said her problems were self-inflicted. This angered Mahoka, resulting in an angry exchange between the two,” a source said.
“The First Lady accused Mahoka and others in the G40 faction of using her name. Mahoka had to be shouted down by other women, including some from the G40 faction, but she insisted the First Lady had used her.”
In February, Mahoka publicly humiliated Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, challenging him to openly declare his presidential ambitions.
Sources said Grace’s anger also emanated from information she gathered that three names had emerged as contenders for the position — her deputy Eunice Sandi-Moyo, Senate President Edna Madzongwe and Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene.
“Grace was angry because she thought it was a no-contest for her. Now she realises Mahoka and others have been using her all along,” the insider said.
Insiders said Grace and Mahoka were drifting apart.
“Grace is now relying on (director of State Residences, Innocent) Tizora and building her own power base around him outside the G40. Mahoka and others have found it hard to see her. Grace has even snubbed the rallies and events that they have arranged for her to speak,” another close source claimed, adding Mahoka had also accused Tizora and Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo of trying to orchestrate her expulsion.
Mahoka who is the women’s league secretary for finance, however, poured cold water on the claims, but seemed to rule out Madzongwe.
“You know my relationship with the First Lady; we are very close and we would never do that. Madzongwe and the First Lady are from the same province. Madzongwe is also related to the President, it would not be proper for her to be in the presidium,” she said when contacted for comment.
Mahoka said Grace had an “excellent working relationship” with everyone in the executive.
“Those are all lies because the First Lady has a very good working relationship with all members of her executive, including Sandi-Moyo. She would not have a problem with any of us and there was no such thing as an angry exchange,” she said.
“We never discussed such things and, in any case, we cannot keep discussing the same thing we have passed a resolution on. We have done our part and we are now waiting for (Zanu PF legal secretary Patrick) Chinamasa to make sure it is in the party constitution.”
The clause was strategically removed ahead of the ruling party’s December 2014 congress as a way to get rid of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.
Following Mujuru’s expulsion from both Zanu PF and government and the subsequent appointment of Vice-Presidents Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, the women’s league felt hard done and has since been pushing to have one of the deputies coming from their ranks.
They launched a fresh campaign this month to have the clause reinstated, amid claims this was part of an elaborate plot to have Mnangagwa axed on allegations of plotting Mugabe’s downfall. newsday