THE beleaguered deputy secretary in the Zanu PF Women’s League Eunice Sandi-Moyo is facing a fate similar to that of the late nationalist Thenjiwe Lesabe after falling out with her former close ally, First Lady Grace Mugabe, as the ruling party’s factional intrigues spiral out of control.
By Staff Writers
Sandi-Moyo is accused of harbouring leadership succession ambitions to aid and abett Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s president bid.
This comes as President Robert Mugabe on Friday last week met separately with Mnangagwa, Higher and Tertiary education minister Jonathan Moyo and Policy Co-ordination minister Simon Khaya Moyo although the engagements concerned different issues, including the Women’s League infighting.
The issue of the ongoing drama in the league came out as a reference after the government officials discussed various issues with Mugabe.
Sources said Khaya Moyo and Jonathan Moyo arrived at State House at 2.30 pm, while Mnangagwa arrived at 3pm for the meetings.
They said Mugabe first met Khaya Moyo in order of seniority and when it was Jonathan Moyo’s turn, Mnangagwa arrived and then again, since he is senior to Moyo, the vice-president met Mugabe ahead of the Higher and Tertiary minister. Khaya Moyo, who has been bed-ridden, wanted to brief Mugabe on his health issues.
Mnangagwa arrived with the Justice Ministry permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza to discuss the appointment of the Chief Justice (CJ) Luke Malaba with Mugabe.
Mugabe had however already finalised the matter with former chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku at a private meeting on March 17.
Sources also said Mabhiza left soon after the Cheif justice issue was discussed leaving Mnangagwa with Mugabe.
Sources also said Jonathan Moyo later had a meeting with Mugabe to talk about appointment of new university councils as well as a proposed tour of several countries in the region to learn how they incubate emerging industries.
Mugabe, however, discussed women’s league issues with both Mnangagwa and Moyo separately, sources said.
Sources said at the meetings it became clear Sandi-Moyo’s situation is similar to that of Lesabe in 2004 when she was fielded by the Mnangagwa camp in an attempt to oust the late vice-president Joseph Msika.
At the time, Mnangagwa had eight provinces backing him during the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration saga. However, the late army commander Solomon Mujuru’s faction pressured Mugabe to accept an amendment to the constitution which had been agreed at the conference prior to the congress to ensure one of the vice-presidents would be a woman.
In order to block Mnangagwa, Mugabe accepted that one of the vice-presidents be a woman. Given that Msika was already a vice-president from the Zapu side, Mnangagwa was eliminated because the woman vice-president had to come from the Zanu PF side.
However, after he was blocked Mnangagwa sought to circumvent the process by roping in Lesabe to challenge Msika for the Zapu position of vice-president so that the woman would come from Zapu and not the Zanu PF side.
That way, Mnangagwa could have qualified to be vice-president on the Zanu PF ticket. The position of the vice-president occupied by Zanu PF was open after the death of Simon Muzenda in 2003.
In the current scenario, the requirement to have one woman VP has been brought back after being temporarily suspended in 2014.
Sources said Sandi-Moyo had become Mnangagwa’s trump card to remove his counterpart Phelekezela Mphoko which would assure him of remaining in the post should the Women’s League continues pushing for the vice-presidency.
“If Sandi succeeded she would have killed two birds with one stone as far as Mnangagwa was concerned as she would have blocked Grace’s ascendancy, while also removing Mphoko,” said the source.
“Grace entertained ambitions to be vice-president so Sandi came in between her and Mphoko.” If that succeeded Mnangagwa would be safe and the winner.
Zanu PF insiders say Grace engineered Sandi’s ouster as she sees her as a potential stumbling block to her ambitions.
Sarah Mahoka, the league’s finance secretary, has also been caught up in the nasty fight.
Sources say Mahoka is being punished for siding with Sandi after she was sidelined due to some disciplinary issues.
Lesabe’s political career was buried soon after she challenged Msika in 2004.