Now Daily Analysis
Every time Grace Mugabe opens her mouth she displays such shocking ignorance that the nation is alarmed. Take her recent statements on who is more senior, the first lady or the vice presidents. Anyone with a casual understanding of Zimbabwe’s or any state system for that matter would know that there is something called the ‘order of precedence’. This is a classification of state positions or officials based on their seniority and roles, what some would call the ‘state organogram’.
The order of precedence does not include spouses of elected and appointed state officials. If that happened, it would create mass confusion. The fact that Grace Mugabe sits next to her husband at state functions and in the politburo does not indicate seniority. It is mere protocol. In extreme situations, say during war-time or national emergency, the women, or spouses, and children are left at home.
To buttress the point, Grace Mugabe and the president’s children do not attend cabinet meetings. This is why, in the one instance where Mugabe allowed his daughter Bona to sit in a meeting with the Japanese prime minister, there was an outcry. The reason is that Bona Mugabe is not sworn to secrecy like a cabinet member and cannot be held to account if she abuses the information gleaned from such meetings.
Even the Zanu PF politburo has a well-defined hierarchy. As secretary for women, Grace Mugabe would be about number 15 in order of importance in the party. If she were not the president’s wife, she would be required to sit at the far end of the table during politburo meetings, not next to the party leader.
The constitution of Zimbabwe says the president exercises executive authority in consultation with the cabinet, not his wife. So, Grace’s argument that she sits ‘in front’ during politburo meetings is irrelevant and smacks of childish ambition.
Grace Mugabe does not sit in cabinet, where the business of governing Zimbabwe is conducted. So there is no question of who is more senior, she or the vice presidents in terms of state protocol. In terms of the order of precedence, the president comes first, followed by the two vice presidents, one of who must be identifiable as the ‘first’ vice president, not the current system where we are told they are ‘equal’. Mugabe is just being mischievous for political and factional reasons by failing to appoint a ‘first’ vice president.
After the vice president comes the president of the senate and then the chief justice. The rest of the order is well-defined, including who, among the cabinet ministers is senior and who is junior.
Grace Mugabe’s confusion arises from the fact that Mugabe has subverted the system in order to accommodate his wife and relatives like Patrick Zhuwao and Walter Chidhakwa in the current succession matrix. She is clearly confused by the whole system because she has failed to muster it and, therefore, dominate it.
Can anyone imagine what amount of confusion would arise if the spouses of senior state officials started claiming superiority and giving contrary orders to their husbands’ or wives’ subordinates?
Sally Mugabe was wife of the president, formerly prime minister, and the Zanu PF politburo secretary for the women’s league from independence in 1980 until her death in the 1990s. We never heard her say she was superior to the vice president because her husband was the party leader. A normal person would not raise such issues. It’s a political powder keg.
But Grace Mugabe is in overdrive trying desperately to position herself to succeed her ageing and ailing husband. She was obviously offended by Mnangagwa’s decision to do the state duties for which he actually gets paid instead of following her to endless Zanu PF rallies where she wanted to denounce him in his presence, in front of everyone, before the television cameras. So, she has resorted to victimizing him and making unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against him.
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Now Daily Analysis