Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s wife has emerged as the front runner to replace one of the veteran ruler’s deputies fired on Monday for showing ‘disloyalty’.
Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa was accused by First Lady Grace Mugabe of plotting against her husband before he was shown the door by his boss.
The expulsion has seen structures of the ruling Zanu-PF rushing to endorse the president’s 52-year-old wife to be one of the two vice-presidents.
Zanu-PF youths said they were backing a review of the party’s constitution during a congress set for next month to ensure one of the VP posts is reserved for a woman.
“Keeping in mind that the woman vice-president shall be the vice-president of the whole nation, youth league included, it had ignited in us, to take interest and position in the selection of the woman candidate,” Zanu-PF youth secretary Kudzai Chipanga said.
“It has to be one who is acceptable and with unquestionable loyalty to the party and its principal, President Mugabe, and more importantly, one without ambitions to work against the President,” he added.
“The only person possessing such qualities is the leader of the women’s league, none other than the First Lady of Zimbabwe Dr Grace Mugabe.”
The first lady, known for her love for luxury and shopping escapades, only joined active politics in 2014.
She put pressure on President Mugabe to fire his then deputy for 10 years, Mrs Joice Mujuru, on allegations of plotting a coup and corruption.
Several other senior ruling party officials, including Cabinet ministers, were fired alongside Mrs Mujuru, who was succeeded by Mr Mnangagwa.
After Mrs Mujuru’s exit, Mr Mnangagwa was largely viewed as President Mugabe’s likely successor until the spectacular fallout.
Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old ruler has in the past insisted that he will not handover power to his wife, but the First Lady at the weekend said there was nothing wrong with her taking over.
In July, she told her husband publicly to anoint a successor. President Mugabe is expected to pick the next vice-president at Zanu-PF’s December congress.