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
At least 20 killed in Central Africa clashes: police
At least 20 people have been killed and dozens injured in the latest inter-ethnic clashes in the Central African Republic, police said on Monday....
Thugs grab rifle from policeman using toy gun
The Police in Masindi district are holding two of their own for losing an AK-47 rifle to thugs in a night attack....
Obama: Sony hack was not
North Korea''s alleged hack of Sony Pictures was not an act of war, President Barack Obama said in an interview aired Sunday....
Obama: Russia
President Barack Obama hits back at foreign policy critics, brushing off claims he had been naively outmaneuvered by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin...
US considers putting North Korea on terror list
The United States is mulling whether or not to place North Korea back onto its list of state sponsors of terrorism, President Barack Obama said Sunday....
‘Help students choose careers of their interest’
Inadequate counseling and career guidance services in schools has been pointed out as a big problem hindering learners from pursuing their careers....
Do you agree with the ban on the export of maids?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter