Harare – Zimbabwe’s former freedom fighters have vowed to stop an alleged plan to get President Robert Mugabe’s wife elected as a vice president at the forthcoming Zanu-PF extraordinary congress in December, according to a report.
The ruling party was expected to confirm President Robert Mugabe as its sole presidential candidate for the coming elections during the congress.
The decision to hold the congress for this reason was unanimous, provincial spokesperson Abicia Ushewokunze said after a meeting of the Harare Provincial Executive Council (PEC).
He said the PEC also resolved to amend the 2014 party constitution "to accommodate issues to do with the Youth and Women’s Leagues", with the resolution to have a female vice president taking centre stage.
All the party wings unanimously endorsed the motion, with Manicaland Women’s League chairperson, Estry Mlambo-Madhuku, saying the special congress would put the succession issue to rest.
But according to New Zimbabwe.com, the struggle stalwarts accused one of the ruling party factions known as "Generation 40" of pushing for a woman vice president in order to "catapult" their preferred candidate, the First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The chairperson of Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association in Bulawayo, Caphas Ncube, said that they were "watching them [G40] closely" and would "defend the revolution we fought for".
He said, however, that they were not against the proposed extraordinary conference, but were against the continuous "changing of the party’s constitution to suit personal and individual interests".
"We cannot have a situation where the party’s constitution is being changed at the behest of other people.
"In 2014, we amended the constitution so that we do away with the quota system. Hardly five years down the line, do we want to revert back to [the] old system again? We are not blind and we know these are machinations of the G40 to smuggle in their own person," Ncube was quoted as saying.
Two distinct camps have emerged in the party as the factions seeking to outwit each other in the race to succeed the 93 year-old leader.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was allegedly angling to succeed Mugabe. The young Turks of the G40 group, who are backing First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her ageing husband, want to torpedo Mnangagwa's presidential ambitions.
Although both Mnangagwa and the first lady have publicly denied harbouring presidential ambitions, the ructions in the party had now become synonymous in Zanu-PF politics.