today's Pick
Mugabe's wife joins fray over Zimbabwe succession
Publish Date: Jul 31, 2014
Mugabe's wife joins fray over Zimbabwe succession
President Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace at a function
  • mail
  • img
newvision

IN FOCUS

HARARE - The surprise nomination of President Robert Mugabe's wife to head the ruling party's powerful women's wing has injected new intrigue into the fight to succeed the 90-year-old strongman.

Confirmation of her position as leader of the ZANU-PF women's league at the party congress in December would propel Grace Mugabe, 49, into the party's powerful politburo.

As a member of the supreme decision-making body the former presidential typist will play an active role in the faction-riven battle to succeed her husband, who took power in 1980 on Zimbabwe's independence from Britain.

Speculation over the thinking behind the elevation of a woman who has previously taken a back seat in the ZANU-PF drama has gripped Zimbabwe since her nomination was announced at the weekend.

Some analysts have expressed concern that a Mugabe dynasty could be in the making.

Rashweat Mukundu, of the political think-tank Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said the move would deepen the mystery over Mugabe's succession.

"It's a continuation of the power struggle within ZANU-PF and will add to the confusion over Mugabe's successor," Mukundu told AFP.

During his 34-year rule Mugabe has studiously avoided naming a successor, yet he has expressed his personal worries over the absence of a suitable successor.


President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend the graduation ceremony of their daughter Bona at a university in Singapore last year

Fears of a dynasty

"The battle ground will shift," said Mukundu. "It's a difficult situation ZANU-PF finds itself in.

"There is so much secrecy around the succession issue and no one knows what the other faction is planning or thinking."

Factions led by Vice President Joyce Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have been jockeying for the veteran ruler's post, dividing the party and raising concern over its future without Mugabe.

Haggling between the two factions cost the party dearly in the 2008 elections when Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the majority of parliamentary seats.

Mugabe loyalists said the move to endorse Grace Mugabe as head of the women's wing was meant to bridge the divisions threatening to tear ZANU-PF apart.

"We see a lot of division," said Monica Mutsvangwa, the ZANU-PF women's league secretary for information and publicity.

"We need to move together and this is what the women's league is saying. She (Grace) is the mother of the nation and she has demonstrated her political expertise."

But political analyst Dumisani Nkomo said Grace Mugabe's elevation could spawn a third force and plunge the party further into disarray.

"The problem is that she might have her own ambition," Nkomo said. "It changes the whole succession matrix. It creates a third force addition to the current confusion.

"It's bad for the country. We could also see the creation of a dynasty and consolidation of power by the first family," he said.

Mugabe has in the past pledged to recommend a successor at an appropriate time to avoid causing splits in the party.

But his wife's move into active politics is likely to set off "what could be intriguing political contests", according to Mabasa Sasa, a columnist of the state-owned Sunday Mail.

Uncertainty over Mugabe's succession and concerns over his age and deteriorating health have divided the government and stalled growth in the ailing economy, with investors adopting a wait and see attitude.

AFP

Also related to this story

Mugabe shuns EU-Africa talks after wife denied visa

Zimbabwe votes on curbs to president's power

Africa's oldest president spends 90th birthday in Singapore
   
Robert Mugabe eyes 'grand' inauguration

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
New Vision to serialize Wavamuno’s book
Starting Friday 4th September 2015 the New Vision will run a three part serialisation of the book, “Gordon B.K. Wavamunno, The story of an African Entrepreneur.”...
The World Health Organization on Thursday announced that Liberia, recently ravaged by Ebola, was free of the virus, 42 days after the last confirmed case passed a second negative test....
Guatemalan President Otto Perez on Thursday said he was resigning, after Congress stripped him of immunity over corruption allegations and a warrant was issued for his arrest....
A judge issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Guatemala''s President Otto Perez, who faces prosecution for allegedly masterminding a huge fraud scheme, a prosecutor said, a day after he was stripped of his immunity....
Besigye returns as FDC flagbearer
Kiiza Besigye was late Wednesday declared the party’s flagbearer for the 2016 presidential elections....
Politicians in a young democracy
A lot is being said about elections lately in the run up to the 2016 polls. From the talk it is clear both the opposition and the ruling party want free and fair elections to advance democracy....
Are poor parliamentary debates a result of removal of school debates?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter