GRACE Mugabe, pawn in Zanu PF

HARARE - If I had sufficient political clout to be able to sit down with Grace Mugabe, I would not be sitting and writing this article which I pray she will be able to read.

I would have preferred what usually is termed a girls’ talk.

Whilst many people may have an automatic response to want to lynch Grace Mugabe, I just find in her a woman who is being used in a bigger political game to which she has no appreciation of what is actually happening around her and the impact of the political decision she has taken on her future and her children.

There are three main issues that concern me over what I will term “the Grace Pawn Star Game”. The first one is that she seems oblivious to the fact that almost 21 years to Sally
Mugabe’s death, she has always been viewed as second wife, a home wrecker and a gold digger.

I do speak from personal experience, it is almost impossible that a young woman who marries a much older man can ever be accepted to have done so for legitimate and bonafide reasons.

Ascending to political positions as a wife to a political leader is almost only accepted in circumstances where the wife has been part of the husband’s history of liberation. So it would be folly for Grace Mugabe to compare herself to Sally Mugabe primarily because she is perceived as a late comer to Robert Mugabe’s political life.

She only needs to look at the example of Graca Machel who, despite being a politician and powerful individual in her own right, had to understand that the gender dynamics of entering into a marriage with Nelson Mandela despite the divorce still meant that only Winnie Mandela would always remain as the accepted political partner to Mandela.

For all the time that Graca was married to Mandela, she never attempted to take any political role in the ANC because she was intelligent enough to understand that basic fact.

Another example is that of Callista Chimombo, wife to the late Bingu wa Mutharika, although she was a political activist in her own right, once she entered the marriage institution in which she was seen as a new comer, she failed to claim any political legitimacy.

Ironically, even with the re-entry of her husband’s brother, she continues to be an outsider of that party’s politics.

Sadly, Callista, is a woman who had built her own political brand, which unfortunately died once she entered into marriage and which got buried with her husband’s death.

Grace Mugabe’s role of supporting her husband without entering directly into Zanu PF politics was and still is the best strategy of securing both her political and economic interests.

She obviously is failing to appreciate that those asking her to enter the political mine field are doing it more for themselves than for her.

For the few years that I have worked with Robert Mugabe, he has always seemed to be very protective of his family. I do hope that in this instance, he can force his wife to understand that too many odds are stuck against her, and that she is likely to be the biggest victim and loser if she proceeds with this stance.

Secondly, it is increasingly clear that Grace Mugabe is a strategic tool in that given her political naivety — she is the gun used to strike at the other factions and she therefore has already made serious strategic blunders. One of those of blunders is the direct attacks on some of those in the leadership of Zanu PF, in so doing she made the factional
politics more complex.

Finally Grace Mugabe’s entry also weakens Robert Mugabe in that over the years his strength has been his ability to not be seen to take sides on the factionalism in Zanu PF.

Grace Mugabe’s unstrategic attacks on some of the Zanu PF colleagues may therefore force her husband to show his hand on the factional politics and therefore create further complications to the existing divisions.

Whilst the dummy being sold by those using Grace Mugabe may be that her entrance may ensure that her husband aside she is capable to become a political leader of the party in
reality that is almost impossible.

Firstly, because one of the fundamental principles of Zanu PF is that the leadership of the party is only a preserve of those who participated in the liberation struggle.

Clearly Grace has no history associated with the liberation struggle, she cannot claim any name in it.

For example if she were to die today, outside of her husband’s decree, she is not qualified for heroes’ status in the criteria that is defined by Zanu PF.

Grace Mugabe is a woman that is being used and abused and it is my sincere hope that before December she does take time to reflect before she makes what may be the most fatal mistake of her life.

Unlike the stories being thrown at her, she cuts out a pathetic figure of a woman who is failing to appreciate that her current position in society does not make her immune to the
abuse that everyone else in society is subject to.

I pray that if she does read this article she understands advise that is well meant coming from one sister to another, and if she decides to ignore the advice, she can never say one
sister did not warn her.

  • Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga is a feminist and the MDC secretary general. She writes in her personal capacity.

Comments (4)

Priscilla is one of the very few politicians I respect in Zimbabwe. However, her knowledge of the goings on is limited to what she reads in the papers. Read on, Priscilla, you will know how this is all programmed to end up. The First Lady knows exactly what she is doing, so don't panick on her behalf. She will be okay.

machakachaka - 25 August 2014

Would you say the same for Hillary Clinton?Would you have wanted to advise herthat some Democrat was pawning her off for power? Isn't it she was secretary of state long after husband retired? What of the adorable pair Eva Braun and Adolf Htler? Do you want us to believe she wasn't a Natzi and had nothing to do with National Socialism and the power dynamics in Greater Germany in the first half of the @20th century? Lastly, yourself sister Priscilla? Are you a sentinel from Heaven? You never said you are a successiful or failed politician or how you walked into this game and what your husband had to say and on whose side he was forced by your entry to take? When people declare their interests in a matter, their advise becomes clearer, smarter, useful.

shame - 25 August 2014

I don't support Priscilla as a politician but it would be foolhardy for Grace to ignore this advice. And truly speaking,Grace does not deserve the respect of a FIRST LADY. Well,she may be adamant that she will be okay in politics but I beg to differ.She is overwhelmed by hypocritical support in ZANU PF.

GANDA - 27 August 2014

I will tell you a little story. Its called "The donkey that Jesus rode".Here goes: When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey the inhabitants of that city gave him a rousing welcome and spread cloths and palm leaves on the road for the donkey to walk over. This so impressed the donkey that a while later it invited all its donkey friends and relatives to accompany it to Jerusalem and see " how the people there will welcome me and sread their cloths and palm leaves for me to walk on" .But the people of Jerusalem were horrified to see a herd of donkeys strutting around in their holy city and drove them away with stones and whips. The morale of this story is that the poor donkey failed to realise that the reason for the rousing welcome was the person it was carrying and not the donkey itself. Grace is who she is only because she is carrying Robert. With Robert gone she will be driven off with stones and sticks!

Johno - 9 October 2014

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