via Mugabe no longer in charge, analysts – New Zimbabwe 22/02/2015
POLITICAL analysts have suggested that a subtle coup may have taken place in the country with leadership of both the ruling party and the government effectively handed over to First Lady Grace Mugabe.
They suggested that indicative of the First Lady’s sudden and immense power was the recent expulsion of former Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa and the dismissal of Masvingo provincial affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
Although Mugabe accused Bhasikiti of being part of the alleged conspiracy by former vice president Joice Mujuru to stage a coup, the Masvingo politician kept his job as several ministers were fired before Mugabe left for his annual holiday in December.
Another group of ministers would also be sacked as the Mugabes enjoyed their holiday in the Far East but Bhasikiti survived.
And even as Mugabe railed against Mutasa after returning home, nothing was said about Bhasikiti who was only dismissed after Grace Mugabe later came back.
“There is no doubt that Bhasikiti was part of the gamatox group.
“We think he had survived the chop not just by claiming repentance but because of his ties to the Emmerson Mnangagwa camp,” said a top party official who did not want to be named.
“Bhasikiti is a protégé of deputy administration secretary July Moyo; they go back a very long way. And of course Moyo is effectively Ngwena’s chief of staff.
“The fact that Bhasikiti’s ties to Moyo and, therefore Mnangagwa, failed to save him shows you that the First Lady is more powerful than the vice president.”
Again when he returned home the politburo, chaired by Mugabe, decided that Mutasa would have to answer charges of misconduct before the party’s disciplinary committee.
But as soon as Grace turned up in Harare, that Mugabe-approved due process is abandoned and Mutasa gets expelled without being called to defend himself before the committee.
“They did not even call me to a hearing in line with the party constitution. They are putting the First Lady … first. What a disgrace,” said Mutasa at the weekend.
Harare based political analyst, Rejoice Ngwenya, said it was now apparent that Grace has a big hand in the running of Zanu PF and government affairs although this however, remained subtle.
Ngwenya said Grace’s behaviour was consistent with those of wives of aging dictators, adding this was witnessed in the wayward behaviour by South Africa’s Winnie Mandela and Mama (Cecilia) Kadzamira, wife to the infamous Malawian politician John Tembo who tried to take over the leadership from former Malawian dictator Kamuzu Banda.
“The first lady’s system of influence is nothing new especially in terms of how aging dictators and nationalists run government,” Ngwenya said.
“Her hand has influenced the configuration of cabinet so the inference is almost by remote control; it’s not direct.
“The shenanigans of the structural changes that she influenced through the Mazowe Crush Movement mean that, in a way, she has influenced the configuration of cabinet because those people she was targeting were the ones who were eventually fired by Mugabe.
“Her factional influence is visible in the structure of government but to say she is running the affairs of government for now may not be very correct.”
Similarly Philip Pasirai, another Harare based political analyst said it was now apparent that Grace Mugabe’s actions were for someone who was now fancying her chances of becoming president herself.
“She started this wanting to rid Zanu PF of the Joice Mujuru influence which she felt was against her interests to protect the First Family’s wealth from any future Mugabe successors,” said Pasirai.
“But she has suddenly realised she has some support and can also become president; that is why she is now looking unstoppable. The President is no longer in control but it’s the wife that is in control.
Because of Mugabe’s advanced age, Pasirai said, Grace realises she has to act fast, hence the high casualty of party politicians who have fallen by the wayside.
What Grace was doing was consistent with her character of wanting to accumulate whatever she could lay hold of while she still can.
Explained Pasirai: “She has an ‘accumulationist’ mentality; she wants to accumulate, accumulate and accumulate but in a primitive manner. A case in point is Manzou Farm. She wants more.
“She has also noticed an opportunity to accumulate power and protect the First Family’s business empire.
“In summary, these are business related reasons which are also driven by political reasons.”