By Tafara Shumba
The First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa gave up her Chirumanzu-Zibagwe seat on Saturday to assume new national obligations that come with the office of the First Lady. The announcement that comes as a bombshell to the constituency, reminisces that moment when a mother separates with her baby.
Mothers usually have a painful moment whenever they part ways with their babies, either for work or any other trip where children are not allowed. The babies always cry on such separation and at times the mother breaks down in response to the baby’s cry. It’s understood because the bond between the two is very strong.
When President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that his wife was to step down as the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe legislator, elderly women fell down wailing. To them it was a great loss. The First Lady could not hold back her tears and Zanu PF National Chairperson, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri had a torrid moment comforting her.
However, the decision was inescapable as her new status transcends frontiers of a constituency. As a First Lady, Mrs Mnangagwa is now the mother of the whole nation not that of Chirumanzu-Zibagwe per se. Nevertheless, the decision to leave politics, especially to give up a seat that you have sweated for, needed unparalleled audaciousness. Mrs Mnangagwa exhibited such a well calculated boldness. Her hands will be ever full and residents of Chirumanzu-Zibagwe would be short changed if she continued representing them.
There are lessons to be learnt from the decision that the First Lady boldly took on Saturday. Other legislators, future and past First Ladies and political protagonists among others must draw one or two lessons from the event.
The emotional reaction by residents of the constituency speaks to the bond that Amai Mnangagwa had created with the people. It speaks volumes about the contributions she had made in the development of the constituency. Several residents testified to the wonderful work that Amai Mnangagwa initiated in the constituency, dating back to the days when her husband was the MP for same. She set up women’s banks, women’s clubs, animal husbandry projects and other infrastructural development projects.
That magnitude of rare industriousness endeared her to the electorate. It is the same hard work that triggered that wailing. The people of Chirumanzu-Zibagwe are just jealousy of her and would not easily let go of that asset. Other legislators must reflect on their constituency work and see if the same response could be elicited if they were to announce their departure today. One’s departure from office must not elicit joy as witnessed in November 2017.
Mrs Mnangagwa’s decision was a complete departure from her predecessor who instead captured her husband to advance her political ambitions. Mrs Grace Mugabe abrogated her responsibilities to join politics. Of course, it was her constitutional right to join politics but hers was conflict-ridden politics that nearly annihilated the revolutionary party. First Ladies are expected to be pillars of unity within the party. During the liberation struggle, Mrs Sally Mugabe, the late wife of former President Robert Mugabe played a pivotal role in fostering unity within the revolutionary party.
Peace making and uniting Zanu PF family is the utmost responsibility expected of the mother of the nation. There are some unfortunate cadres who were trapped in the G40 shenanigans and some of them were not even in the know of the agenda behind. The First Lady should help to integrate those who are remorseful, into the Zanu PF family.
Mrs Mnangagwa has refused to engage in divisive politics. Future First Ladies must learn from how Amai Mnangagwa has lived to the adage that goes – behind every successful man is a strong woman.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.