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‘Zanu PF not ready for woman president’

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The Zanu PF quota system meant to ensure women get a fair share of political posts could just be a smokescreen as it emerged the party is not ready to embrace a woman president.

Charles Ray, the United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, said he did not believe Vice-President Joice Mujuru or Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa would rule Zimbabwe.

The US ambassador made the analysis after a Zanu PF faction believed to belong to Mujuru had won most of the powerful seats within the party at the 2009 congress where John Nkomo was elected vice-president and Simon Khaya Moyo national chairman.

In a diplomatic cable sent on August 12, 2009, Ray said: “For now, the Mujuru faction is in the ascendancy. But it appears unlikely that either Mujuru or Mnangagwa will eventually become president.”

The cable was intercepted and leaked by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks
Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu PF spokesperson, yesterday dismissed Ray’s assertions saying the diplomat was entitled to his own opinions.

On the prospects of a woman taking over as president, Ray said: “Zanu PF, according to most analysts, is not ready to accept a woman as president. And (President) Mugabe has made clear by his actions that his successor will be a Zezuru.”

The US top envoy did not explain which actions suggested President Mugabe would opt for a Zezuru to succeed him.

Gumbo dismissed the US envoy’s claims saying Zanu PF was actively pursuing the Sadc quota system which requires that both males and females share positions equally.

“We have a woman vice-president,” he told NewsDay. “It’s their opinion and we have our own opinion that will lead us where we want to go. A person is allowed to hold an opinion.

“What is the difference between a woman president and male president? The party is clear on that one. We have a woman vice-president who is also Vice-President of the country.”

Gumbo said Zanu PF was implementing the Sadc quota system with sincerity.

“We are going towards that quota system. It may take time, but we are going there,” he said.

In the cable, Ray said the faction that would be dominant over the other would most likely provide a successor to President Mugabe.

“Conventional analysis posits that there are two principal factions within Zanu PF, Mujuru and Mnangagwa, and that the dominant faction is likely to provide the successor to (President) Mugabe,” Ray is quoted as saying.

“Over the years, as (President) Mugabe has manipulated party politics, the fortunes of one have risen with the decline of the other. For now, the Mujuru faction is in the ascendancy.”

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