Auxillia fetes Sengezo Tshabangu at State House

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is being greeted by Sengezo Tshabangu at a recent government event in Lupane

FIRST lady Auxillia Mnangagwa on Friday hosted a lavish dinner for self-styled Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu and his legislators as part of a campaign to solidify President Emmerson Mnangagwa's plan to hang on to power beyond 2028.

Sources said Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was put in an invidious position where he was made guest of honour at the dinner where  Zanu PF and CCC legislators were pledging undying support for the Mnangagwas.

It is at the dinner where the legislators also agreed to make Auxillia their ambassador with processes to make her take an official position in Parliament also ironed out, The Standard can exclusively reveal.

Mnangagwa’s second and last term is supposed to end in 2028.

His close allies, notably Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Owen Ncube, have been pushing to have Mnangagwa extend his term to 2030.

Already, there are slogans saying Mnangagwa will still be in office in 2030.

The 81-year-old leader, who recently told the state-controlled media that he had no intentions to run for a third term, did not stop Zanu PF officials from chanting slogans to the effect that he would still be in power in 2030 at an event in Mashonaland East last week.

Under the country’s constitution, there is supposed to be a referendum to allow a constitutional amendment to extend the presidential term and Mnangagwa is not supposed to benefit from the subsequent new provision as the incumbent.

Sources said Mnangagwa had roped in Members of Parliament from his Zanu PF and CCC to push for laws to circumvent the constitutional provisions, culminating in the pomp and funfare dinner where the legislators were treated to a sumptuous meal and expensive whiskies.

“The plan now is to simultaneously extend the term of the current Parliament and that of the president to 2030,” an impeccable source, who attended the dinner said.

“Alternatively, the other plan is to de-harmonise the elections with the next presidential election scheduled for 2030. It’s all work in progress.

“The MPs also agreed to support Auxillia becoming the women’s ambassador, and not only that, but to become the leader of the women’s caucus in Parliament.

“Chiwenga was put in an invidious position because he harbours presidential ambitions, and he was left livid as he was ambushed since he was the guest of honour to support Mnangagwa’s 2030 bid and that of Auxillia as women’s ambassador.”

Sources said Tshabangu attended the dinner after he appointed himself leader of the opposition in Parliament last week.

Tshabangu also appointed himself the leader of CCC in the Senate and a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (lPU) delegation.

The Matabeleland North senator has also been appointed to Parliament’s standing rules and orders committee, which is the legislative assembly’s supreme decision-making body.

The announcements of the leadership changes were made in both the National Assembly and Senate last Thursday by speaker Jacob Mudenda and Michael Nyambuya respectively.

Tshabangu snatched the CCC from its former leader Nelson Chamisa.

Chamisa, who had formed the CCC in 2022, later quit saying the party had been hijacked by Zanu PF and its proxies referring to Tshabangu.

Tshabangu has denied claims that he is a Zanu PF proxy.

He is accused by critics of gifting Zanu PF a two-thirds majority after re-calling a number of CCC legislators.

Tshabangu yesterday confirmed the Friday dinner at State House hosted by Auxillia for CCC and Zanu PF MPs.

“It was a dinner for female legislators for both parties, and of course, as leaders of the respective parties we had to attend as well,” he told The Standard.

“We were not chanting slogans. Of course not all MPs attended the dinner because of various commitments, but it was a dinner to host female legislators from both parties.”

He added: “However, it is true that female legislators agreed to make the first lady their ambassador to champion the women’s cause.

“There is really nothing sinister about that, but we are simply copying what Malawi is doing where their first lady is a women’s ambassador.

“Going forward, the first lady would assume a parliamentary position to champion women’s cause as their leader.”

Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi also confirmed the dinner and its outcomes to make the first lady women’s ambassador.

“The women's caucus, women parliamentarians across the political divide had dinner with the first lady following the request to meet with her,” Togarepi said.

“The honourable women parliamentarians requested the first lady to be the ambassador on issues of interest to women and women parliamentarians in particular.

“This is a common trend in many countries that women parliamentarians request their first ladies to be their ambassadors.”

He added: “Members just wanted to appreciate what the first lady is doing to advance the interest of women in healthcare, culture, and empowerment.

“In their message to the first lady, women parliamentarians said she was better placed to raise their issues with the government and with the various international organisations she works with.”

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