First Lady-designate Mrs Auxillia Mnangagwa is a woman of virtue, is humble and thinks of other people first, according to those who know her. Those who stay near their Sherwood Farm on the outskirts of Kwekwe heap praises on her as she has exhibited the highest level of good neighbourliness.
Despite her husband Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa holding the post of Vice President of Zimbabwe since 2014, she has carried herself in a manner that only servant leaders do. It is that natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first as Robert K Greenleaf, the founder of the modern servant leadership movement, aptly put it, that has made her a darling of many who know her.
Mrs Mnangagwa’s neighbour, Mrs Perseverance Zhou, described the First Lady-designate as a successful farmer who loves to share notes with her neighbours. She also described her as a humble woman who attends every event in the neighbourhood including small children’s birthday parties.
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate my neighbour, she deserved it. She is a very humble person that at times you wonder how she manages that,” said Mrs Zhou.
“She attended every event when invited by neighbours even before she became a Member of Parliament for Chirumanzu Zibagwe. If you invite her to your child’s birthday party, she would come and join you in the celebrations,” she said.
She said Mrs Mnangagwa is a hard worker who pushes for women’s empowerment. At public gatherings she has told women to work hard without waiting for their husbands to do it for them.
“Her words to everyone who knows her are ‘Shandai vasikana (work women)’,” Mrs Zhou said.
She said the First Lady-designate was working very hard in her constituency especially trying to uplift women.
“She opened a bank for women in Chirumanzu where women can borrow money to start self-help projects,” she said.
Mrs Violet Nhari (nee Juru) described the First Lady-designate as a hard worker who is sociable. She said every person in Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency has Mrs Mangwagwa’s mobile phone number and people can call her any time.
“There are some MPs who if called first ask you to reveal the person who gave you their mobile phone number. But Mrs Mnangagwa is totally different, her phone is not a secret and any person can call her at any time. She is very open-minded and always strives to unite people. She has a unique way of resolving differences when they arise especially from among us women. As women, we like gossiping but she finds ways to unite us,” she said.
Mrs Nhari added that Mrs Mnangagwa bought a car for the constituency which is always on standby and available to everyone.
“We have never had such an MP before, who availed a car for everyone in the constituency. The car is being used at funerals. Mrs Mnangagwa also attends every funeral in her constituency. During funeral wakes, she sits on the floor like every other mourner; she is very humble,” she said.
Who is Auxillia Mnangagwa?
Auxillia Mnangagwa is the wife of President-designate of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa. In 2014, she was elected to become a Member of Parliament representing Chirumhanzu-Zibagwe constituency. The parliamentary seat she currently occupies fell vacant following Cde Mnangagwa’s elevation to the post of Vice President that same year.
It was then that Mrs Mnangagwa ran unopposed in the Zanu-PF primary elections after two other contestants pulled out of the race. Violet Nhare, Zanu-PF provincial commissar for the Women’s League, and Erasmus Chaya, the deputy national secretary for transport in the Youth League, are reported to have withdrawn from the race out of respect for Mrs Mnangagwa.
Mrs Mnangagwa’s sudden elevation to Parliament then left many wondering whether she had other political credentials besides being wife to the country’s Vice-President.
Well, she was also Deputy Secretary for Environment and Tourism in the Zanu-PF Politburo, joining Monica Mutsvangwa, who was a Senator and a spouse of Zanu-PF politician and war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa.
Born on March 25, 1963 in Mazowe District in Mashonaland Central, Mrs Mnangagwa grew up in Chiweshe near Rosa Business Centre where she did both her primary and secondary education.
After completing her secretarial studies at Silveira House in Chishawasha she joined the Ministry of Manpower and Development in 1981 which was then under the supervision of the late national hero Edgar Tekere.
In 1982, she joined the then Prime Minister’s Office. It was during this period that she is reported to have worked at the Sheraton Hotel (now Rainbow Towers) as a security officer. She also worked with the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) until 1997 when she left to undertake studies in environment and tourism at the University of Zimbabwe.
Two years after leaving the country to pursue studies in hotel and tourism administration in Switzerland, she graduated in 2001. Cde Mnangagwa returned to Zimbabwe and worked in Zanu-PF’s finance department in Kwekwe. She married Cde Mnangagwa in 1984, and the two have three children – Emmerson (Junior) Sean and Collin.
Her political life is not without controversy. She is reported to have submitted her name to represent Zanu-PF in Mazowe Central where she was born, but her submission was declined by the ZANU-PF Mashonaland Central Provincial Coordinating Committee under circumstances she claims were unclear to her.
However, former columnist of The Herald Nathaniel Manheru wrote that Mrs Mnangagwa was rejected by the Mashonaland Central provincial leadership on the grounds that she married a man from the Midlands Province. Manheru also insinuated that she may have been barred from Mashonaland Central because it was Joice Mujuru’s stronghold.
The article said Mujuru considered Mrs Mnangagwa a threat since she is married to Cde Mnangagwa, who was considered a rival in the Zanu-PF presidency succession race. After winning her way back into the Central Committee in 2009, Cde Mnangagwa played a role in setting up a community bank in Chirumhanzu called the Cheese Bank.
She is also reported to have worked on a number of empowerment projects on behalf of Zanu-PF in Gokwe and Mberengwa. Cde Mnangagwa has also been instrumental in the establishment of women’s banks in the Midlands areas of Silobela, Zhombe, Kwekwe and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe.
In 2013, Cde Mnangagwa launched another women’s bank in Mvuma with the assistance of the Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development Ministry. As the Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for Environment and Tourism then, Mrs Mnangagwa contributed to the launch of a historical tourism initiative in the city of Masvingo.
The launch saw the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe declaring the site where President-designate Emmerson Mnangagwa and Matthew Malowa blew up a Rhodesian steam locomotive in 1964 at Masvingo Railway Station, a historical site. The two were members of the famous “Crocodile Gang”. The site has been named the “Trabablas Trail”.
Mrs Mnangagwa was part of a crop of parliamentarians who include Psychology Mazivisa, Betty Kaseke, Tshinga Dube and Esau Mupfumi who won positions through by-elections. She spent a number of years behind the scenes, but her history in the party allows her to reach the same level as her counterparts, Senator Monica Mutsvagwa and former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
Cde Auxillia Mnangagwa is definitely a woman to watch.