The Zanu PF women's league has thrown its hat in the contentious President Robert Mugabe's succession ring, with the wing's boss Oppah Muchinguri declaring at the weekend that they were gunning for the party's top job.
Addressing a party women's conference in Gweru on Sunday on the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, Muchinguri laid down the gauntlet setting the stage for a vicious fight for the presidency, arguing women have an equal right as men to lead Zanu PF and the country.
"We also want the presidency as women because during the war we fought side by side with men. Nothing can stop us from landing the top job because we have the revolutionary qualities," Muchinguri declared.
This is the first time the women's league has publicly declared its interest to have one of its members land the party presidency and first secretary post.
Muchinguri, however, did not state when the women's league intended to make its move to win the Zanu PF top job. The party holds an elective congress in December with indications that Mugabe would be retained for another five years.Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are reportedly leading factions in Zanu PF jostling to succeed Mugabe. The two have, however, denied leading opposing camps.
Two months ago, Mugabe said Mujuru and Mnangagwa "are not the only ones" fighting for his throne.Muchinguri, who is the Women Affairs and Community Development minister, told the Gweru conference that Zanu PF constitution recognised women's participation in the liberation struggle, hence their desire for top positions in the party.
She spoke glowingly on Mujuru's contribution to the liberation struggle. Media reports at the weekend were that Muchinguri intended to challenge Mujuru for the vice-presidency at the Zanu PF congress in December.