Zimbabwe

Grace adds to fears of Mugabe dynasty in Zim

2014-07-31 12:41
Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe (AP)

Zimbabwe's First Lady Grace Mugabe (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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.

Factions

"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.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  grace mugabe  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
26 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.