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One foot in for Zimbabwe’s First Lady
to land party, country vice presidency

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Only President Robert Mugabe now stands in the way of First Lady Grace Mugabe becoming the country’s second female vice president after youths and a number of ruling party provincial leaders started clamoring for her ascendancy.

According to the ruling Zanu-PF party’s constitution, Mugabe is the sole center of power and wields powers to appoint his two deputies and other members of the Political Bureau (Politburo).

The party will hold an extra-ordinary congress in December where its constitution will be amended to give one of the two vice presidents’ slots to a woman as was the case between 2004 and 2014.

With Mugabe on Monday booting Emmerson Mnangagwa out of government where he had served as vice president since December 2014, the president’s wife is firmly on course to land the position by virtue of holding the most senior position in the Women’s League as its secretary.

The Youth League set the ball rolling on Monday morning - just a few hours before it was announced that Mnangagwa had been fired—by nominating her as its candidate for vice president of both the party and the government.

Kudzanai Chipanga, Secretary for youth in the party’s Politburo, told a press conference at the ruling party’s headquarters that the Youth League had taken an interest in the selection of the person to become vice president at an extra-ordinary congress to be held in December.

“We need someone who is acceptable and with unquestionable loyalty to the party and its principal Comrade R.G. Mugabe, and more importantly one without ambition to work against the president.

“The only person possessing such qualities is the leader of the Women’s League, none other than Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr Amai Grace Mugabe,” Chipanga said.

A number of provinces have also supported the First Lady’s ascendancy, giving Mugabe the leeway to promote her.

Mnangagwa remains party vice president but this appears to be a short respite.

On Sunday, the First Lady told members of apostolic faith sects that Mnangagwa and his perceived supporters should be expelled before the December congress for causing divisions within the party.

If appointed vice president, Grace Mugabe will become the party’s second female vice president after Joice Mujuru who held the position between 2004 and 2014 before Mugabe fired her on similar allegations Mnangagwa has been accused of.



President Mugabe vows to deal with allies of sacked VP Mnangagwa

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Wednesday his party will deal with allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice president he fired on Monday.

Mugabe did not specify the actions to be taken against the allies, but the party’s 10 provinces on Tuesday recommended that scores of party supporters allied to Mnangagwa be sacked as well.

Some of the named allies include former finance minister and now cyber security minister Patrick Chinamasa, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi and Water and Climate Change Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri.

Mugabe fired Mnangagwa, 75, on Monday for alleged disloyalty and deceitfulness. Mnangagwa was widely seen as Mugabe’s possible successor.

Mugabe’s wife, Grace, had in recent months accused the former VP of fanning factionalism and plotting to unseat Mugabe.

Reports said Mnangagwa had since left the country fearing for his life.

“I would like my fellow citizens to know that I am now out of the country and safe. My sudden departure was caused by incessant threats on my person, life and family by those who have attempted before through various forms of elimination including poisoning,” Mnangagwa said in a statement.

While addressing party supporters at ZANU-PF headquarters in the capital Harare on Wednesday, Mugabe said the former VP was a tribalist who lacked supreme discipline.

“We have now dealt with him (Mnangagwa) and I hope we can deal with others who were conspirators alongside him,” Mugabe said.

Meanwhile, key ZANU-PF arms, the Youth League and Women’s League as well as the party’s 10 provinces on Wednesday endorsed First Lady Grace Mugabe for the party VP post.

The party is working on amending its constitution to accommodate a female Vice President, a provision that it changed in 2014 when the party amended its constitution to give Mugabe sole powers to appoint his deputies.

Mugabe said the issue of the female VP will be discussed at the forthcoming party congress to be held in Harare next month.


Harare International Airport renamed after President Mugabe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s Harare International Airport will on Thursday change its name to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in honor of the country’s long-serving leader.

Workmen were on Wednesday busy resetting the letters on the airport’s conical tower and information boards to read the new name ahead of Thursday’s renaming ceremony.

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development Joram Gumbo said in September that the ruling Zanu-PF party had on numerous occasions requested the renaming of the airport after Mugabe.

“We think it is a small recognition by the people of Zimbabwe to name the Harare International Airport as the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport. It is something small to recognize his contribution.

“He is a peacemaker. He is an icon for Africa,” Gumbo said then.

Mugabe has led Zimbabwe since it attained independence from Britain in 1980.



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