via VPs watch as Grace seizes politburo – New Zimbabwe 18/02/2015
“I agree with social media reports suggesting that Mugabe was in fact, accompanying Grace to politburo meeting,” said Mandaza.
GRACE Mugabe surprisingly grabbed a chair next to her husband as Didymus Mutasa and his nephew Themba Mliswa were finally expelled from Zanu PF during Wednesday’s party politburo sitting.
The First Lady was clearly not there to act in the event her frail and aged husband suddenly tumbled out of his chair – he landed on all fours after missing a step at Harare airport recently.
Grace took the very spot used by former Vice President Joice Mujuru whose dismissal from the party and government she engineered.
To many Zimbabweans, the expulsion of Mutasa and Mliswa was no surprise as the two more than bargained for their fate through vitriolic utterances against the revolutionary party and its leadership.
What was not expected was the sight of Grace sitting next to President Robert Mugabe throughout the politburo proceedings.
Flanking the President and his surprise companion at the top table were the bemused party Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phekelezela Mphoko.
The top table is usually a preserve of Mugabe, his deputies and the party’s secretary for administration; certainly no province for the women’s league chair – a position that ranks well out of the top ten in the politburo.
A charitable view could be that Grace, a relative newcomer in Zanu PF’s mainstream politics, may not have known where to sit during her first ever politburo meeting after being elected Zanu PF women’s affairs boss.
But it was telling that senior party members kept their thoughts to themselves when an ordinary portfolio holder ignored all the other seats and chose to snuggle comfortably next to the President, a first in Zanu PF politics for many years.
Granted, by virtue of being wife to Mugabe, Grace is usually a close to the elderly statesmen during his public appearances, but what to make of the cheek to jump protocol and sit exactly where the ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru sat in her sunny days.
Top academic and political commentator Ibbo Mandaza has a ready explanation.
“I agree with social media reports suggesting that Mugabe was in fact, accompanying Grace,” he said.
Mandaza added: “Don’t be surprised if you hear an announcement one of these days that Grace has taken over as head of state especially when you saw everybody trooping to the airport to meet a first lady. That has never happened before.
“These are strange political happenings in Zimbabwe, very strange and very disturbing. It’s both unreal and unsustainable.
“In my view, it’s a chronic subversion of politics. I don’t think it’s sustainable in the Zimbabwe of the 21st century, it’s an aberration which is not sustainable.”
Mandaza said Mugabe (91 next Saturday) who last year unleashed his wife to dislodge Mujuru, could now be showing what Zimbabweans have long been suspecting; that he wants to hand over power to his wife.
“This appears to be so in terms of their conception of the current Zanu. The question is; is Zanu PF sustainable? And my answer is ‘very unlikely’.”
By defying party protocol with less to zero consequence, Grace may have poured scorn on President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba who said last week that she was a “private citizen” whose life should not be pried upon.
“She is not a civil servant, she is not a constitutional officer. Why do you pry into the life of a private citizen in the name of news?” Charamba said when he was asked by NewZimbabwe.com on the whereabouts and health status of Zimbabwe’s First lady.
“Don’t worry about her there is one person you want to worry about, your first President. That’s the guy who makes laws for you, not the First Lady.”