ZANU PF Women’s League structures yesterday fell over each other to endorse First Lady Grace Mugabe as the Women’s League boss ahead of the wing’s congress in August.
During her belated 49th birthday celebrations, most media organisations — NewsDay included — were denied entry.
But impeccable sources who attended said that Senate president Edna Madzongwe was the first to endorse Mugabe before incumbent Oppah Muchinguri weighed in to support the position taken by the women in Zanu PF.
The birthday celebrations were held at the First Family’s Gushungo empire in Mazowe.
In response to the stance taken by the party women’s league, Grace is reportedly said to have expressed shock, saying she would need to consult on the matter before she comes up with a concrete decision.
Grace was quoted as having said: “I have to consult first. For now, I am shocked.”
Party sources said the function was attended by several Women’s League members, but Vice-President Joice Mujuru reportedly snubbed the event for unknown reasons.
Among those present were Higher Education minister Olivia Muchena, Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona, Mutare South MP Nyasha Chikwinya, Minister of State in the Office of the President Flora Buka, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa and several other leaders. One of the women leaders, according to sources, reportedly spelt it out clearly that although the function was supposed to be a birthday celebration, they had decided to pronounce their desire to have “our mother leading us”.
Women leaders from different provinces converged at the First Lady’s business empire in Mazowe singing and praising Grace for her works. When NewsDay arrived at the place, several people were milling around while a woman, who sources confirmed was Bulawayo Resident minister Sandi Moyo, was giving a speech.
The reporter was denied entrance by security personnel.
“NewsDay! No, you are not wanted here, you can leave,” said an intelligence officer at the main entrance. Several vehicles and buses were parked outside the venue.
Grace campaigned vigorously for her husband to retain power in last year’s July 31 election, where she spoke at almost every rally, urging party supporters to vote for the 90-year-old leader.
Her ascendancy to the position is reported to have the blessings of the faction reportedly led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and army generals are reportedly backing Grace’s move, which they see as a way of neutralising the Mujuru faction.
Sources said the Mnangagwa faction believed the Mujuru faction was using party organs, like the women and youth leagues, to hijack the party and push Mugabe out of power, hence the move to elevate Grace and neutralise the VP.