WATCH: Grace Mugabe's 'confident' speech at party fund-raiser (so what's her plan?)

2016-11-05 18:59
Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

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Harare - Is this the shape of Zimbabwe's future?

Composed, smooth-speaking and with a fair few references to sanctions: Grace Mugabe has given a speech at a ruling Zanu-PF party fund-raising dinner in the capital Harare.

And the contrast with her 92-year-old husband's hesitant, faltering delivery of his remarks at the opening of the Bi-National Commission a day earlier couldn't be more stark.

"Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party that has stood the test of time," Mrs Mugabe, 51, told guests confidently at the luxury dinner, where the most expensive 10-seater tables cost $100 000. The eye-watering price is even more astonishing given Zimbabwe's current cash squeeze.

Watch the video below. 

Standing on a flower-studded podium, the first lady praised business reps who, she said, "had kept this country afloat in the face of sustained economic sanctions". 

Hang on - do those words sound familiar?

While the delivery of her speech late on Friday couldn't have been more different to her husband's on Thursday, the phrases were those the president regularly trots out. 

Zimbabwe has been under "hostile western sanctions", Mrs Mugabe said. There was another reference to "illegal sanctions" and one to "detractors". The ruling party will "collectively respond to people's needs", she said. 

Predictably there appeared to be no mention of the state-sponsored corruption or mismanagement that has fuelled months of rising discontent (swiftly clamped down on by Mugabe's government) in this southern African country.

There has been some speculation that Mugabe's wife may be eyeing the presidency after her husband dies. She is believed to be close to a faction of the ruling party popularly referred to as G40. It is led by the so-called Young Turks, who include Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, and Jonathan Moyo, the higher education minister. It is opposed to the faction led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. 

Earlier this week it appeared the G40 had been dealt a "fatal" blow when Moyo finally went to face the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which had been trying to interview him for days over corruption allegations. But then late on Friday came the news that the Constitutional Court had "suspended criminal proceedings" against the minister pending the outcome of a challenge over whether the ZACC had arresting powers. For now he's off the hook.

And Grace Mugabe? Judging from Friday night's performance, she's got full confidence in the future.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  saviour kasukuwere  |  grace mugabe  |  jonathan moyo  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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