Amai will unify the Women’s League

By IAfrica
In Zimbabwe
Jul 30th, 2014
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grace mugabe

First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe

Tafara Shumba Correspondent
The proposal by Zanu-PF women to rope in the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe into the political scene as the boss of the Women’s League is commendable. The move is not in any way extraordinary as insinuated by detractors. The First Lady requested time to consider the offer. While she is doing so, she must be on her guard against detractors who are bringing in factional scheming into this honest recommendation. It’s indisputable that there are factions in Zanu-PF and it’s democratic for members to differ on preferences of candidates, provided it’s not detrimental to the party. This is the essence of elective congresses.

However, the women who endorsed the elevation of the First Lady came from all the factions, perceived or real. They all had a common vision.
This is what separates revolutionary parties from puppet parties. They differ on other things but not on principles. They have their own differences but remain focused on the national agenda and unity of purpose.

They remain attached to the umbilical cord of the national vision. Zapu and Zanu had differences during the struggle for independence but they both remained fixed on the common goal of ending oppressive rule.

There is a dearth of this rare attribute in the MDC where an inconsequential difference leads to a split. They do not agree to disagree as real democrats do.

It is now a tradition for detractors, who must be concerned about their own women’s assemblies in their fragmented forms, to demonise any historic position taken by the revolutionary party.

To some of us, the magnitude of their reactions to Zanu-PF policies and other deliberations has become a barometer to gauge how powerful or weak the same are. The disparagement is always vicious when a great position is at play. They behave like football fans that are more comfortable with a weak player in an opponent team than a kingpin.

If given a chance to make a line-up for an opposition team, it would be full of weak players. During our primary school days, we employed the same gimmick where we would choose an illiterate class monitor who could not write the names of noise makers. We did that in order to prey on the weakness to escape punishment.

Even the West wants weak leaders in Africa so that they are under its thumb. It is not comfortable with a key player like President Mugabe in the political game for they know for certain that it will be “Bhora mugedhi” all the time.

Amai Mugabe is one such a political player that is capable of causing cataclysmic consequences on the opponents. She has been on the bench for a long time.

Amai should, therefore, not betray the confidence that the revolutionary women have in her. She must just accept the offer unless there are justifiable reasons to spurn it. The women have seen the quality in her. She did well in the field of social welfare and economic development. The Women’s League stands to benefit from such acumen.

She has been bearing the brunt of sanctions when she was not in active politics. In Shona they say “kudya imbwa idya irihono|. It is high time Amai gets into full-time politics.

The elevation of the President’s wife is not exceptional to Zimbabwe. In the US, Hillary Clinton, the wife of Bill Clinton, was a US Senator from 2001-2009. She became the 67th Secretary of State from 2009-2013 and she was a candidate for the Democrats in the 2008 elections.

In Ghana, Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings, the wife of former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings became a powerful politician in Ghana. She became the president of the 31st December Women’s Movement and later was elected as the first vice president of the National Democratic Party. She even challenged John Evans Atta Mills for the presidency at the party’s congress in 2011.

Amai was instrumental in President Mugabe’s resounding victory in the July 31, 2013 elections. She campaigned without ceasing. Despite that her influence on the victory was legendary, she never claimed recognition.

Amai is going to have a cementing impact upon the party. Her greatest advantage is that she does not belong to any faction and that alone will earn her respect from all members. Such a move must be extended to the party as a whole when President Mugabe decides to call it a day. Someone who does not belong to a faction must take over the presidency, even if it means a dark horse. This will unify and sustain the party.

With a neutral person as an heir, the party will focus more on development than on succession. The fulfilment of the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) has become subservient to succession issue. Cristina Elisabel Fernandez de Kirchner replaced her husband in 2007, becoming the 55th president of Argentina.

Even the late First Lady Amai Sally Mugabe was elected the Deputy Secretary of the Women’s League in 1978 and was elected the wing’s boss in 1989.

One attribute in Amai which is rare in most first ladies the world over is humility. There is an issue of co-presidency where most of the First Ladies, especially in America, exert a lot of influence over their husbands. They lobby their husbands in bed in what is known as pillow-talk in political parlance. Ronald Reagan’s wife for instance, kept a close watch on the appointments the president made. She had great influence in the White House to the extent that she even helped to fire the White House Chief of Staff.

Amai was instrumental in President Mugabe’s resounding victory in the July 31, 2013 elections. She campaigned without ceasing. Despite that her influence on the victory was legendary, she never claimed recognition.

Amai is going to have a cementing impact upon the party. Her greatest advantage is that she does not belong to any faction and that alone will earn her respect from all members. Such a move must be extended to the party as a whole when President Mugabe decides to call it a day. Someone who does not belong to a faction must take over the presidency, even if it means a dark horse. This will unify and sustain the party.
With a neutral person as an heir, the party will focus more on development than on succession. The fulfilment of the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) has become subservient to succession issue.


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