The Zanu PF Women’s League conference has come and gone, but not without producing it’s own share of bleeps, blunders and drama.
On Friday, party national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo stunned Auxillia Mnangagwa, the wife of fellow politburo member Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa when he embarrassingly asked her, “What’s your name by the way?” in full view of the 4 000 delegates attending the conference.
Moyo, who was chairing the committee report-back meeting, invited a representative of the women affairs committee to come forward to make a presentation on their recommendations. Auxillia came forward and as she made her way to the podium, Moyo failed to recognise her.
“Who is ready?” Moyo asked and when Auxillia responded she was, he went on to ask: “What’s your name?” When the baffled woman introduced herself as Auxillia Mnangagwa, Moyo said: “Oh. It’s you? Welcome, welcome.”
Some delegates said the incident demonstrated how factionalism had permeated the party’s structures down to the family level. In the olden days when Zanu PF was one big family, party officials’ families used to regularly visit and interact with each other.
The drama was to continue when First Lady Grace Mugabe was invited to thank party women for endorsing her candidature to lead the Women’s League.
Grace threw a jibe at her translator, Youth League secretary Absalom Sikhosana saying: “This man is too fast for me! I am yet to say anything and he is already interpreting,” much to the amusement of delegates.
The opening ceremony was punctuated by its own drama as leaders embarked on attacks on each other in slogans and songs. Outgoing secretary for women affairs Oppah Muchinguri took to the podium and chanted a slogan that shocked many. “Pasi nevanopisira varume mudzimba [down with women who burn their husbands],”
Muchinguri chanted. The slogan momentarily stunned delegates and failed to attract as powerful a response as her other slogans.
Muchinguri’s statement coincided with the third anniversary of the death of the former army-general Solomon Mujuru who died in an inferno at his Beatrice farm in 2011 and was duly described by many as distasteful, insensitive and ill-timed.
When it was Mujuru’s turn to greet the 4 000 plus guests, she sang: “Pakati pedu apa, dairai, paita achatipandukira, dairai” words to the effect that “there are sell-outs among us that are plotting to rebel against the party.”
Delegates resolved at the end of their conference to endorse Mugabe and his wife Grace for the leadership of the main wing and the women’s wing respectively. The endorsement was curiously mentioned at least three times in the women’s resolutions that were read out at the close of the conference.