Grace adds to fears of Mugabe dynasty in Zim

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.

Mugabe dynasty

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.

"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."

Third force

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.

DerekMain 2014-07-31 12:45:55 PM
That's what you voted for - you deserve it.
Brutus Roy 2014-07-31 12:47:50 PM
Here we go again, round and round, keeping it in the family.
Seshike Samuel Mmoledi 2014-07-31 01:06:04 PM
If Zimbabwean citizens are feeling good about Grace,then people should stop worrying about Zimbabwean politics and who will take over from uncle Rob.Only Zimbabweans should worry about that.If it happens that Grace took over she must be a tiger or lion and fullfill his husband and people of Zimbabwe's wishes.
Isabella Rodrigaz 2014-07-31 01:17:29 PM
lol ay i see the presidency is now an inheritance
Felicité Thipe 2014-07-31 01:42:55 PM
Zimbos a coup d'état will suffice.
Jake Dikobo 2014-07-31 02:01:33 PM
It is the Congress of ZANU that elects Leaders. The constant refrain that HE Presint RG Mugabe is delaying to name a Successor is both mischievious and misplaced. I thought the question analysts should asking is whether Mrs Grace Mugabe would be supporting Mujuru or Mnangagwa.
Modisane Edwin Motaung 2014-07-31 02:23:34 PM
Zim has now become Mugabe,s Tuck Shop. I pity poor Zimbabwens. Grace is the next President of Zim
TaxStrike 2014-07-31 02:45:35 PM
Our Father who art NOT in Zimbabwe...
Mthamiz Sjongo 2014-07-31 03:47:43 PM
Real democracy equal opportunities for everyone,male or famale,viva Zim viva.
Bob Mearly 2014-07-31 03:53:37 PM
The ZANU/News24 down voting brigade left early today it seems.