Monday, July 28, 2014

Matabeleland Backs Zimbabwe First Lady’s Endorsement
Zimbabwe First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
July 28, 2014
Herald Reporters

Zanu-PF Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces yesterday threw their weight behind First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s candidature to lead the revolutionary party’s Women’s League, saying the move would help strengthen and unite the party.Women’s League members from the country’s 10 provinces met in Mazowe on Friday and unanimously resolved to second the First Lady to head the organ.

“It’s something that we are happy about and that we really support,” Politburo member Dr Obert Mpofu from Matabeleland North said. “The move will help strengthen the party and bring about unity.

“President Mugabe and the First Lady campaigned throughout the country ahead of last year’s elections, leading to our subsequent victory as a party. The First Family also helped in mobilising resources, so the First Lady really deserves that post.”

Dr Mpofu said the first family was against factionalism that was eating into the party.

“It is the positions that divide people because some tend to buy people and badmouth others when they want certain positions and in the end that affects the party,” he said.

Dr Mpofu’s sentiments were echoed by Zanu-PF Matabeleland North provincial chairman Cde Richard Moyo during the provincial elections directorate meeting in Lupane.

“We really support what was done by members of the Women’s League in Mazowe,” he said.

“We are rallying behind them in their decision.”

Matabeleland South provincial chairman Cde Andrew Langa commended the Women’s League for recommending the elevation of the First Lady.

“We are happy that the Women’s League appreciates that the First Lady is a hard worker,” he said.

Political analysts said yesterday First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe will give the Zanu-PF Women’s League a new impetus if she eventually becomes its chairlady since she has all the attributes and there is nothing unusual with her entrance into mainstream politics.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist, Dr Charity Manyeruke, said Amai Mugabe had shown her leadership abilities and strong personality in various sectors.

“I think the First Lady has the required personality to lead the Women’s League,” she said. “We are talking of a personality who has been involved in the activities of Zanu-PF for a long time anyway.

“You only need to look at how she campaigned for the party in last year’s elections, calling on Zimbabweans to vote peacefully. It was the kind of message you would expect from such a principled person.

“She has encouraged entrepreneurship among Zimbabweans and has led by example as can be seen by the success we see at Gushungo Dairy.  This shows that she is multi-skilled and if you consider her philanthropic work with disadvantaged communities, I do not see how she can fail to lead the Women’s League.”

Dr Manyeruke said Amai Mugabe stood by President Mugabe at the most difficult times, gaining the requisite experience to deal with the challenges facing the country.

Midlands State University lecturer in the Department of Media and Society Studies Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri said there would be nothing unusual in the First Lady entering main stream politics.

“There is nothing unusual in the First Lady taking up the position because we have a number of examples across the world where husband and wife run for high offices,” he said.

“The First Lady, because of her relationship with the President, she is in a better position to lead the Women’s League successfully. In any case, she has not imposed herself, but has been recommended by the Women’s League, so with that backing she can lead the organisation.”

Dr Mhiripiri cited former US president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary as an example of a couple that was politically active, while in Argentina former president the late Nestor Carlos Kirchner was succeeded by his wife Cristina Hernandez.

Another analyst, Mr Goodwine Mureriwa, said Zimbabwe’s history since the liberation struggle had many examples of spouses who were politically active.

“I think it is important to note that if you look at the history of the liberation struggle you will find that the spouses of national heroes were also politically active,” he said.

“Such examples include the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo and his wife Mama Mafuyana, Herbert Chitepo and his wife Victoria, Leopold Takawira and his wife Sunny and many others.

“The role of the mother in the struggle cannot be separated from her husband, so the elevation of the First Lady into mainstream politics is only natural, in fact she has been playing that role as mother because there is no way the President would have been such a strong leader if he did not have strong support from his wife.

“What we are seeing is history repeating itself and I don’t see any reason why she cannot lead the Women’s League.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said it was within the rights of the Women’s League to make their recommendations.

“It is within their democratic rights to make their recommendations as Zanu-PF is a democratic party and the recommendation will be looked into by the relevant authorities,” he said.

The recommendation was endorsed by the Women’s League provincial leadership in all the 10 provinces, while several female war veterans welcomed the decision, saying it would help end the problem of factionalism.

If her appointment is confirmed in December, the First Lady will become a member of the Politburo, Zanu-PF’s highest decision-making body outside congress.

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