HARARE - The Zanu PF women’s league has accused the party’s secretary for legal affairs Patrick Chinamasa of sitting on their conference resolution to ensure the rise of a female vice president in the ruling party.
Efforts to get comment from Chinamasa were futile as he was not answering calls yesterday amid reports he was tied up in Cabinet.
He also did not respond to text messages sent to his phone.
The women’s league, led by First Lady Grace Mugabe, made the resolution at the party’s 2015 annual conference in Victoria Falls last month as part of alleged efforts to “checkmate” Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential aspirations.
But insiders say their efforts seem to be hitting a brick wall with Chinamasa, who is believed to be in the Mnangagwa camp, allegedly reluctant to act on the resolution.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said yesterday he expected that Chinamasa, who also chairs the resolutions committee, would present his report at the next politburo meeting.
“Why don’t you ask him to answer for himself?” Khaya Moyo said.
“I am not aware of that but what I know is that the politburo has not met since the resolutions were made and we hope that he will present his report when we next meet.”
Information gleaned from sources privy to the goings-on in the Zanu PF women’s league said the women were getting “increasingly frustrated by Chinamasa’s lackadaisical approach” to the issue.
The women’s league is linked to the ruling party’s ambitious Young Turks, known as the Generation 40 (G40), and is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa. They are allegedly rallying around Senate president Edna Madzongwe to take over as one of Mugabe’s deputies.
“He seems to be in no hurry to have the resolutions adopted because he should have finished with the report to be tabled in the politburo but we know he has not even started working on the report because he says he is too busy with government business,” a women’s league member from Mashonaland West said, adding that they would escalate the fight.
The Mash West province was one of the first to make the women’s quota resolution ahead of the Victoria Falls conference.
This was after Bulawayo made a similar resolution, followed by Mashonaland East until it became a national issue.
The resolution, if taken on board, will see constitutional changes catapulting Madzongwe to the Zanu PF presidium using the abandoned women’s quota system.
In turn, this will likely see Mnangagwa relegated to a lower position, possibly that of party chairperson, which was dropped last year.
Under the plot, the G40 would push for Zanu PF to revert to its old constitution, which states under Article 7 (31) that four members of the party’s central committee were supposed to be a president and first secretary, two vice presidents and second secretaries — “one of whom shall be a woman” — and a national chairperson.
But success in this endeavour will depend on whether Chinamasa is willing to move with the necessary speed to have the resolutions adopted to pave way for the constitutional changes.
Last year, the Zanu PF politburo gave Mugabe unfettered powers to among other things appoint his two vice presidents — in a move that was seen as designed to ensure that former Vice President Joice Mujuru did not have “a snowball’s chance in hell” to be re-elected in her then position.
This comes as the warring ruling party is awash with talk about the possibility of Mugabe relinquishing power before the end of his current term, which ends in 2018.