HARARE, ZIMBABWE —
Political power grabber, or just another match to a burning fire? Those are just some of the opinions Zimbabweans have about former first lady Grace Mugabe.
Tinashe Mawere is a researcher in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies and Center for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He blames Grace Mugabe for widening the factional fights in Zanu PF.
Mawere says Mrs. Mugabe had usurped the powers of the president although she was “just a wife”, and that was a major contributor to the fall of Robert Mugabe.
Political activist and aspiring Independent Member of Parliament for 2018, Linda Masarira, also blames Mrs. Mugabe for her husband’s ouster.
Masarira thinks the president fell because his wife had encroached onto political territory that was not hers.
Masarira suggests that Mrs. Mugabe should be brought before the courts, to answer charges that she displaced other citizens and was involved in corruption.
Killian Sibanda, who is a Zanu PF member of Parliament for Nkulumane, says President Mugabe was a good man who married an “ambitious” woman.
However, there are others who believe that the former president caused his own downfall. Acting Director for the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Bekezela Gumbo, says Mrs. Mugabe merely added onto a “sinking boat.”
Gumbo says Robert Mugabe had already developed strained relationships with the security sector, which he adds, is “the backbone of Zanu PF.”
This was supported by Harare resident, Sibonokuhle Buhlungu, who thinks the fire had already started burning around the president before Mrs. Mugabe started making political waves.
Buhlungu thinks it is not necessary for Mrs. Mugabe to be punished. She asserts that no form of punishment would compensate those hurt by the former first lady.
Women rights activist, Lucy Makhaza Mazingi, says Mrs. Mugabe was a victim of men around her who used her.
Grace Mugabe was known for her rantings at every ruling party gathering. She has also been accused of pushing former Vice President Joice Mujuru out of Zanu PF. She also belittled government officials, including former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is now the president through the help of the army.