The writing was on the wall.
Last week when Wanita Umno vice-president Shahrizat Abdul Jalil called for the wing's leadership transition plan to be brought forward from June to March, it was clear that all was not well at the top (of Wanita Umno).
The transition plan was agreed to by the Wanita exco in August.
As expected, this afternoon Shahrizat announced her decision to challenge Rafidah for the number one post.
Rafidah told 3540 Jalan Sudin today that she will be defending her post.
"It is not a question of whether or not I am accepting the challenge....there is a challenge and I will have to defend my post.
"We will meet di gelanggang in March," she said.
Rafidah said she was shocked by Shahrizat's "about-turn" because Shahrizat had given assurances to her, the Wanita exco and to the public that she had no intention of contesting the top post.
The transition plan was to ensure a smooth transfer of leadership in June.
Shahrizat's decision has now upset this plan. Also, Wanita Exco member Kamilia Ibrahim has announced her decision to contest the vice-chief post.
Looks like she has won the post uncontested.
Asked about criticisms that the plan was neither provided in the Umno constitution, nor was it an Umno practice, Rafidah said that was inconsequential.
"Just because it is not in the party constitution or not an Umno practice does not mean that it cannot be done. The point is, we all agreed to it."
On concerns that handing power to Shahrizat in June, three months after the party elections would render Shahrizat just an "acting chief", Rafidah said she had reassured Shahrizat that "if you are the leader, you are the leader, acting or not."
In other words, being an acting chief does not have a bearing on one's leadership.
Rafidah said (the late Tun) Hussein Onn was acting Umno president for more than one year.
Rafidah's supporters have questioned Shahrizat's late decision, accusing her of denying other very able and capable leaders from contesting.
"Why didn't she oppose the plan from the beginning? What kind of leader is this? She said repeatedly that her word is her honour.....why this?" a Wanita leader asked.
Shahrizat's supporters have hinted that Rafidah was selfish and was leaving Shahrizat with little choice but to contest.
The Wanita chief said that she had explained to the exco that she needed six months to strengthen not just the wing but the Barisan Nasional Wanita machinery.
"After that, I will step down. I have already explained. It was accepted".
Rafidah said BN lost five states and she needed to help lay the groundwork for the next general election.
"You know I have nothing to lose," she remarked, adding that she had been looking forward to retiring from active party politics.
The former International Trade and Industry Minister is Kuala Kangsar Member of Parliament. She holds no Cabinet post currently.
Shahrizat lost her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat to Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Nurul Izzah Anwar in the last election. She was made Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Women and Social Development Affairs.
Asked if she would hand over the leadership to Shahrizat in June if she wins in the March elections, Rafidah said:"If I win, then I will have to lead the wing for another three years."
Well, there goes the Iron Lady's retirement plans....
Read the Star on Shahrizat's decision to contest....HERE