FIRST Lady Grace is tipped to succeed her husband President Robert Mugabe as the leader of the party and government if the sitting arrangement at the Zanu PF politburo meeting on Wednesday is anything to go by, analysts said yesterday.
by MOSES MATENGA
Grace set tongues wagging during the meeting when she occupied a seat previously reserved for the party’s presidium and that used to be occupied by dethroned Vice-President Joice Mujuru, with many yesterday suggesting that it was clear that she was now in charge of affairs in Zanu PF and government.
Former Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said Grace’s presence at the presidium table was no coincidence, but a clear signal that Mugabe was grooming her to take over the Presidency.
“It is a new dispensation. They do what they want,” Gumbo said.
Analysts said though she was Mugabe’s wife who normally takes a sit next to her husband, the developments in Zanu PF, however, made her powerful and likely to take over from the veteran leader who celebrates his 91st birthday tomorrow.
Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director Pedzisai Ruhanya said that the sitting arrangement showed how politically powerful Grace had become.
He, however, said Zimbabweans were likely to resist and scuttle any attempts to turn the country into a dynasty.
“People can say she was sitting with the husband, but the symbolic meaning connotes that she is powerful, there is no doubt. It tells us of the power and authority in Zanu PF and her position shouldn’t be understood as just sitting next to the husband, but that her power in Zanu PF can never be doubted,” Ruhanya said.
“You saw her role in the emasculation of Mujuru. It simply shows she has the muscle now. However, her rise can be tragic not only for Zanu PF, but the country if she is to hallucinate as President. She simply can’t run a modern economy and also international and domestic relations.”
Ruhanya added: “It will be a monumental disaster for the country. Zimbabweans will not allow that and that move will incite Zimbabweans to stand up and say no. Zimbabwe is not a dynasty and can’t have a husband leaving power to his wife.”
Academic and political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said: “Don’t be surprised if you hear an announcement one of these days that Grace has taken over as Head of State especially when you saw everybody trooping to the airport to meet a First Lady. That has never happened before.
“These are strange political happenings in Zimbabwe, very strange and very disturbing. It’s both unreal and unsustainable. In my view, it’s a chronic subversion of politics. I don’t think it’s sustainable in the Zimbabwe of the 21st century. It’s an aberration which is not sustainable.”
Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi added: “I think it’s like any other appointment, but as you know, she is the First Lady and her post is more than mere membership. Let me, however, point out that this is not the first time to have a President’s wife in the echelons. Sally was also there. The sitting arrangement makes her more powerful. She was drafted into national disciplinary committee that sealed (fired secretary of administration Didymus) Mutasa’s fate and I don’t know whether the committee met in her absence or she just endorsed what they agreed on when she came back.”