via Grace is a succession decoy – The Zimbabwean 15.10.2015
I am surprised that there is a growing mass of people out there who believe that Grace Mugabe is gunning for the presidency and is likely to replace her husband.
That cannot be. Grace is simply a strategic and handy decoy in the ever complicated succession dynamics in Zanu (PF).
She just happens to be there as a way of masking President Mugabe’s growing political—and possibly physiological—senility and to ensure that he sees out the remaining days of his life in office.
All talk about Grace taking over from Mugabe is speculative. At no time did we ever hear the blundering Grace express that ambition. She is an uncouth and calculating woman. She is capable of saying all sorts of weird and un-clever things. But never has she blundered about her presidential ambitions. That is because she is not planning to become a president.
In any case, as far as I am aware, her husband doesn’t have much respect for her as a politician and thinks she is too pedestrian for such an office, even if it means it would guarantee his family much-needed protection and security in the post-Mugabe era.
That is probably the main reason why Mugabe, in his myriad reshuffles since the “landslide” victory of 2013, has not been tempted to give Grace a ministerial post. Naturally, that would have been the starting point in the process of grooming her for the ultimate post in the land. Becoming a cabinet minister would have helped her to learn the ropes of real, as opposed to megaphone and jaw-jaw, executive politics.
It would have provided her with the chance to make a more serious mark for herself. As it stands, most people just regard her as rabble-rouser in the intensifying factional fights in Zanu (PF) and not a politician of any form.
It seems elevating her to the top position in the women’s league was a strategic move. While we initially speculated that it showed she was being positioned for a ministerial post, the most likely reality, in retrospect, is that she was put there to give her access to a critical mob, the gyrating and screaming women, who would be needed in the king-making processes in Zanu (PF). We all know how important the women’s league is. Once it starts screaming, things change. So when Grace starts hollering, things also change.
She is doing that just now by attacking, left, right and centre, all the old guard in the party, and she is succeeding in her machinations. This is to remove attention from her frail husband and place it on the real and imagined factionalists and successionists in the party.
Gladly for her and her handlers, people are swallowing the bait. The focus is not on Mugabe, but other people. We are seized with Grace and her public stunts, the G40 and VP Emmmerson Mnangagwa instead. It is almost as if Mugabe is not there at all, yet that is the point. He has to be there without being there.
The hawks in the party are now pampering Grace with exactly the same attention that was reserved for Mugabe. That is why the selling slogan now is “Munhu wese, kunaAmai!” (First Lady is the Centre!). The main import of that is to make it appear as though Grace must be seen as the focus of Zanu (PF) politics.
The implication, of course, is that by supporting Grace, you are supporting Mugabe. People will thus jostle for Grace and it will appear as though Mugabe has been forgotten. She will be busy dividing the people using the very tactics that her husband has used for years to remain in power, and precisely to make him keep the reins.
Her alignment with the Generation 40 outfit is not a mere coincidence. It comes out of the strategic realisation that the old guard must have a notable faction to compete with. Nobody would have taken G40 seriously without Grace, and the outfit fully knows that. The point is, Zanu (PF) factionalism must persist in one way or another as a way of preserving Mugabe’s political life. – To comment on this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org