'Mugabe has final say on female VP'

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HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has the final say on the candidate to be elevated to the post of Zanu PF vice president in fulfilment of the party’s 2015 women’s quota resolution, women’s league information secretary Thokozile Mathuthu said yesterday.

Following Mugabe’s complaint about lack of implementation of critical resolutions dating back to 2015 at the Masvingo annual conference last year, the league has been pushing for the insertion of the women’s quota clause in the party’s constitution, amid speculation that First Lady Grace Mugabe will be seconded for the post.

Mathuthu told the Daily News in an interview that the matter rested with Mugabe, since the party constitution empowers him to solely appoint his deputies.

She said once Zanu PF legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa re-introduces the clause in the party constitution, the recently turned 93 leader will make the appointment accordingly — either at an extra-ordinary congress or the normal one due in 2019.

“It is not up to us as a league to say who will become vice president because the party constitution says the president appoints his deputies, so we will be guided by what the president wants,” Mathuthu said, adding that “all we want is representation and not who in particular”.

“However, in 2015, we made a resolution to have it reinstated to ensure that we have representation in the presidium, making it 50-50 and we are waiting for that to take effect.”

If reinstated, the women’s quota resolution will see Mugabe dropping either one of his two deputies — Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — amid speculation that the move is targeting the former’s scalp.

Mnangagwa is accused by the youth and women’s league-backed Generation 40 (G40) faction of seeking to stampede Mugabe out of power before the end of his term next year.

The G40 wants Mugabe to be life president and has since endorsed him as the Zanu PF candidate in next year’s elections.

Mathuthu further said “the youth league … is also backing our demands for the women’s quota….we are united in this and there is nothing wrong with the youths coming to walk on the same path with their mothers. Who doesn’t want to be near their mother?”

Last October, Mugabe and his wife took turns to publicly declare their support for the embattled Mnangagwa, a move observers viewed as a sign that reports of a sinister plot to have the VP dropped were true.

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