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Is Mugabe Using Wife to Achieve Desired Succession Goals?

  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday, Marondera,Feb. 23,2014.

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday, Marondera,Feb. 23,2014.

Some observers say First Lady Grace Mugabe is being used by her husband, President Robert Mugabe, in conveying his thoughts about Zanu PF currently riddled by factionalism.

Political analysts, who spoke to VOA Studio 7, said President Mugabe is aware of what is going on in his party as his wife is currently in control and attacking at will perceived faction leader Vice President Joice Mujuru.

In one of her just-ended meet the people tour in Zimbabwe, she attacked Mrs. Mujuru claiming that the vice president is corrupt and promoting factionalism in the party and as a result she should be dumped by supporters at the forthcoming Zanu PF elective congress.

Vice President Joice Mujuru is being targeted at rallies by Mrs. Grace Mugabe.

Vice President Joice Mujuru is being targeted at rallies by Mrs. Grace Mugabe.

Independent political analyst and former war veteran, Tafadzwa Chinyane, said that the president is supporting his wife in “unearthing some of the ills that are bedeviling the party as he is conscious that he will soon be out of the political arena due to old age.”

Chinyane said, “I think that the president is also interested in seeing how his wife can handle hot political issues. The president knows that his wife has high political ambitions though maybe doubting her intellect and balancing family and party interests. But the bottom line really is that the president has let his wife to fight her way up the political ladder and her recent PhD awarded by the University of Zimbabwe is not a mere coincidence.”

He dismissed suggestions that President Mugabe has lost control of the party, saying “we may have been witnessing very serious clashes between feuding Zanu PF camps including massive violence if they knew that he is now a push over or some kind of political cabbage.”

Mrs. Grace Mugabe captured in one of the provincial rallies where attacked rival Zanu PF factions fighting to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe. (Photo: Zanu PF Facebook Page)

Mrs. Grace Mugabe captured in one of the provincial rallies where attacked rival Zanu PF factions fighting to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe. (Photo: Zanu PF Facebook Page)

Another independent political analyst, Mmeli Dube of Bulawayo Agenda, said the first lady’s public statements in which she has been denouncing Mrs. Mujuru and other people allegedly linked to her camp, show that President Mugabe is still in charge of the party.

Dube said it is commonsensical that at the end of the day’s rallies she was briefing her husband about what is going on.

“ … I think that Mrs. Mugabe appears to be interested in the presidential post.”

Some political pundits added that Mrs. Mugabe’s game plan revolves around another alleged faction leader, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who also habours presidential ambitions.

They believe that Mnangagwa is likely to be appointed vice president at the forthcoming party congress as Mrs. Mugabe takes over the Women’s League. They say this will give her enough arsenal to take aim at the presidency as Mr. Mugabe’s political life comes to an end.

Zanu PF activist and political analyst Morris Ngwenya argues that Mrs. Mugabe, like any party supporter and Zimbabwean, has a right to campaign for power in Zanu PF and beyond.

Both Mrs. Mujuru and Mnangagwa have dismissed reports that they want to succeed President Mugabe.

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