Grace Mugabe was an average student who did not show any signs that she could become a national leader, let alone be president, some of her former teachers have told Now Daily.
Mrs Mugabe has come under the lens after it emerged she is gunning for the Zimbabwean presidency and angling to succeed her ailing husband, 92 year-old Robert Mugabe ‘by hook or by crook’, according to one analyst.
“Grace Mugabe was not an outstanding student. I would be surprised if she became vice-president or president as some are urging her to do in the press,” said her former lecturer at an elite private college in Harare, where she did an executive secretarial course while working as the president’s private secretary at Munhumutapa Building, the regime’s headquarters. “She was very quiet and reserved. I am surprised to see her sing and dance so much at rallies. But I have to say she is running a successful business, Gushungo Holdings and a charity for homeless orphans. She was also appointed politburo member and secretary for the women’s league. That must count for something about her leadership skills. Besides, she is young. Let’s give it to her, she might just become our first female president and I’d be proud of that as a lecturer and a mother.”
Others however castigated her for using ‘bottom power’ (sex) to get ahead in politics and business.
Grace Mugabe, then known as Grace Marufu, enrolled for an executive secretarial course at the college in Harare after she started an adulterous affair with Mugabe. Both were then married, she to Air Force officer Stanley Goreraza and he to his late wife Sally.
Grace Mugabe had joined Mugabe’s office as an untrained switchboard operator, after being drafted from the Central Intelligence Organisation, where her brother Reward Marufu, an intelligence officer, had assisted her to get a job as a junior operative. After Mugabe, who was at that time reputed to be a womanizer, set his eyes on her, Grace Mugabe was quickly transferred to the president’s typing pool. However, she had no skills and was encouraged to enrol for the typing course to make it easier for her to travel with the president. She was competing for space then with Oppah Muchinguri and another typist identified only as Peggy, who were then sent for secretarial studies in the United States to pave way for Mugabe’s illicit affair with his married secretary Grace Marufu.
“Grace Mugabe was not intelligent and struggled to get through her programme. However, I would not be surprised if she got a top government position. In Zimbabwe, it seems you don’t need education to get to the top in politics. All you need are connections and money. Look at Joice Mujuru, Simon Muzenda or Morgan Tsvangirai. They all occupied high office without the benefit of an education,” said another teacher.
Grace Mugabe attempted a London University English degree by correspondence but flunked dismally. She was mysteriously awarded a doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe without a thesis in 2014, much to the chagrin of the academic community. There is no evidence that she ever enrolled or satisfied the university’s basic requirements for such awards. Some Zimbabweans cynically call her ‘Doctor Amai’.
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