FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe — whose recent “surprise entry” into the political arena has shaken corridors of power in Zanu PF — moved another rung yesterday when she was nominated to the Central Committee by the party’s Harare province.
MOSES MATENGA/EVERSON MUSHAVA
Grace, who is set to be confirmed as Zanu PF Women’s League boss at the party’s elective congress in December, had a Central Committee seat reserved for her by the heavily-discredited Amos Midzi-led Harare province in a move widely seen as meant to quell swirling speculation that the provincial executive was opposed to her political rise.
With the Women’s League and Central Committee seats safely in her bag, the First Lady automatically becomes a major player in Zanu PF’s decision-making processes and key figure in deciding the party’s succession matrix.
Addressing journalists and provincial party officials in Harare yesterday, Midzi said: “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 affairs, we have decided to reserve a Central Committee position for her.”
His announcement was received with loud cheers, song and dance from the party officials who included provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe (Harare South), Jaison Passade (MP Mt Pleasant), Melody Dziva ( MP Proportional Representation) and Politburo member Tendai Savanhu (MP Mbare ).
“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 August 13 2014, as a province to the national chairman Cde SK Moyo, who is also chairman of the national elections directorate,” Midzi said.
Grace’s latest political elevation comes as Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo today chairs a crisis meeting where the party’s 10 provincial chairpersons will deliberate on the internal tremors caused by her “surprise entry” into the ruling party’s top leadership.
Several party provinces, including Harare, have been rocked by violent internal fights mainly stemming from her “unexpected” meteoric rise.
Although the agenda for today’s meeting, which kicks off at 10am at the party’s headquarters in Harare, remained under wraps by the close of business yesterday, NewsDay is reliably informed that provincial party structures were in a quandary over how to handle the friction caused by Grace’s entry into politics.
Khaya Moyo yesterday referred questions to Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, who was not reachable for comment.
But party insiders confirmed that the provincial chairpersons had been summoned to attend a crunch meeting.
“Yes, there will be a meeting at the party headquarters of provincial chairpersons that will be convened at the behest of the national chairman. The meeting will start at 10am,” said a party insider who declined to be named.
The source added: “Following last week’s developments in Harare province, fears are growing that Grace’s entry into politics, if not well managed, could destabilise the party resulting in the undermining of provincial structures.”
According to the Zanu PF constitution, the Central Committee is the principal organ of the Congress and consists of 230 members drawn from the party’s 10 provinces.
“It acts on behalf of Congress when it is not in session and, among other things, implements all policies, resolutions, directives, decisions, and programmes enunciated by Congress. The Central Committee meets once every three months.”
The Politburo is the standing committee of the Central Committee and implements all decisions, directives, rules and regulations of the Central Committee. It meets at least once a month and is answerable to the Central Committee on all matters.
Grace’s rise to power in Zanu PF has been viewed by observers as a way to get politically closer to her husband President Robert Mugabe and help him fight factionalism.
Other analysts have viewed it as calculated to safeguard her family’s business interests in the post-Mugabe era while others still see it as a way to block Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s ambition to succeed Mugabe.
Insiders said the First Lady had the backing of a faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also reportedly angling to take over the Presidency.
In her acceptance speech after she was endorsed by the women and youth leagues at her Mazowe orphanage home last month, Grace threatened to crack the whip on faction leaders.