By John Chimunhu|
Now Daily Analysis|
For someone who started her working life as a lowly state house switchboard operator, Grace Mugabe has come very far.
Now, even the hard nuts in Zanu PF and the military admit, Grace Mugabe is now calling the shots, not only in Zanu PF, but in government as well. On Sunday, hardline military generals and top officials of Robert Mugabe’s regime trooped to the airport to welcome Grace Mugabe back from an extended two-month holiday in Singapore, whose cost was borne by taxpayers.
This is significant, as political commentators noted. After all, these are the same generals who refused to salute opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai when he became prime minister and supposed joint leader of government during the ill-fated coalition government that ran the country from 2009 to 2013.
Grace is a different sort. Unlike Tsvangirai, who was never given full state authority by Mugabe as required by law, Grace has taken it by force from her now-hapless husband. She wields power like an axe on the heads of targetted state and party officials.
Asked on Facebook if Grace Mugabe wanted to succeed her husband, information minister Jonathan Moyo said, ominously: “Who knows. Your guess is as good as any.” Moyo could easily have said no, but he did not because in the current power dynamics, the country already has two presidents, two centres of significant power.
A bit like Winnie Mandela, Grace Mugabe can be both brutish or extremely gentle, generous or spitefully mean. This week, the man who effectively ran both government and party office, former Zanu PF administration and presidential affairs Didymus Mutasa admitted that Grace Mugabe was now in charge of Zanu PF and the government. Commentators and senior government officials agree.
Grace Mugabe has leaned hard on her husband in recent months, resulting in a major cabinet shake-up to get rid of all her rivals.
Vice president Joice Mujuru and 16 ministers have been sacked from the government since December. More are in the firing line amid reports that Grace Mugabe wants to dismantle the party in its present form and set up her own outfit, which she wants to run with her reported lover Gideon Gono. At 91, Mugabe is too old and too frail to argue with his 49 year-old second wife. She embarassed him during Zanu PF’s December congress when she told him to shut up. Mugabe himself admitted that he was virtually a prisoner under her control, “even at home”.
What many thought could not happen, happened. Grace Mugabe is now in charge and she does not need the title of ‘president’ to function as one and to run the country.
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