ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is set to become the country’s second female vice president after the ruling Zanu-PF party’s 10 provinces agreed to have an extra-ordinary congress to amend the constitution.
According to the state-owned daily, The Herald , provincial leaders who spoke to the paper over the weekend said apart from reaffirming Mugabe’s position as the party’s sole presidential candidate in the 2018 elections, they also wanted to have the constitution amended to set aside a vice presidential slot to women.
Spokesperson for Harare province Abicia Ushewokunze said the provincial executive committee had resolved to amend the 2014 party constitution to accommodate ‘issues to do with youth and women’s leagues’ and to establish a female vice presidency.
‘We resolved that the constitution be amended as there are a number of issues yet to be addressed, especially the women’s league resolution on vice presidents,’ he said.
Other provinces also resolved that Mugabe should be the party and government leader for life.
Zanu-PF was due to have an annual meeting in December, but this will now been turned into an extra-ordinary congress. The next ordinary congress is scheduled for 2019.
The party constitution has provisions for two vice presidents — currently occupied by men — but the women’s league has been advocating one of the positions to be set aside for a woman.
Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko are the vice presidents after Mugabe appointed them in 2014.
Mugabe in July advised the women’s league to consider amendments to the party’s constitution to create a slot for a third vice-president post that would be reserved for women.
This was after his wife, who is also the secretary for women’s affairs, said that the party should revert to its resolutions that one vice-president’s position be reserved for women.
The party constitution was amended in 2004 to create the position of woman vice president which went to Joice Mujuru.
However, the provision was removed in 2014 as the First Lady ostensibly pushed for Mujuru’s ouster after accusing her of trying to topple her husband.
The position is also no longer an elected one as the party created one centre of power and gave Mugabe the prerogative to appoint all members of the Politburo, which is the party’s highest decision-making body outside congress.
As the most senior female party member by virtue of being the secretary for women’s affairs in the Politburo, the First Lady has higher chances of landing the vice presidency than any other female member.