Zim minister’s first lady joke backfires

2014-12-28 14:47

Harare – An official of Zimbabwe’s ruling party was in trouble today for referring to new vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife as the acting first lady.

Minister of State for Mashonaland West province, Faber Chidarikire, insists that when he introduced Auxilia Mnangagwa as acting first lady to crowds in the northern town of Chinhoyi yesterday that it was “just a joke”.

“I had joked that [Emmerson] Mnangagwa is acting president [so] she is acting first lady. It was just a joke and I then corrected that statement that she cannot be acting first lady because the first lady is there,” Chidarikire told the Sunday Mail.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is currently acting president while Robert Mugabe holidays in Asia with family members.

His wife Grace Mugabe has accompanied the president so there is in fact no first lady in Zimbabwe at the moment.

Chidarikire’s comment made front-page news in the weekly paper, with locals said to have been “stunned’’.

Others accused Chidarikire of “disrespect” towards Grace Mugabe (49) who was named head of Zanu-PF’s powerful women’s league at a party congress earlier this month.

Analysts have speculated that Grace Mugabe – who until this year played no active role in politics – may be named minister of women’s affairs in the new year if a parliamentary seat can be found for her. The former secretary and mother of four has hinted that she may have presidential ambitions.

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