Grace tours, a 'dud'

HARARE - When a self-styled semiotician — if not ghost writer — on a British-based website warned us in June that there was a strong and powerful faction to be led by Grace Mugabe, quite a few Zimbabweans might have taken this seriously.

In that bold and quirky riposte to Jonathan Moyo’s savage mauling at the hands of President Robert Mugabe, the South African-based Dinizulu Mbikokayise-Macaphulana made a very striking observation that people had failed to note that —outside the commonplace Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa groups — was “one of the most influential parties in Zanu PF”  led by the First Lady.

“So much dust has been raised about… Mujuru and… Mnangagwa faction to the total ignorance of how Grace Mugabe is grouping people around herself, and her own political project to seize power in the party and the country if not to ensure that those who will protect her vast business empire succeed Mugabe and secure her golden pickings…,” the polemic writer said.

And before the dust has even settled on Macaphulana’s views that the Gushungo Holdings founder was also going to be surrounded by pseudo-academics, dodgy businessmen, churchmen and other funny characters, that prediction has come to pass already — if what we saw of her so-called “meet-the-people” rallies were anything to go by.

Crucially, the undercover writer’s observation that Mugabe’s broadsides against Moyo — around Nathan Shamuyarira’s death — were a pretext to an onslaught against many opponents and under an offensive led by Grace also seems to be coming true now.

And true to form, Mujuru has been caught up in the charade that is “hurricane Grace”, although its collateral damage is also going to bite its progenitors.

After all, the situation we are in today is not particularly new or surprising given Mnangagwa’s shabby treatment around 2004 and when his presumed allies, including Moyo staged the so-called Tshlotsho declaration.

At the time, many in Zanu PF cheered after the Zibagwe-Chirumanzu legislator’s fall, but their 90 year-old leader is back at his best — savaging lieutenants for his own continued survival.

But what is key, though, is that all those speaking and acting in his name, especially those behind Grace, are equally desperate for him to vacate the space.

“These are people thrown into politics by the need to protect financial interests and gains that run the danger of being lost if an individual not sympathetic to Grace succeeds Mugabe,” Macaphulana noted.

“In this party, there are slippery fellows who have collected all the jargon from business dictionaries and throw around sound bites that are easily mistaken for wisdom,” he added.

While the self-appointed decoder of meaning has critically observed that “the upsurge of prophetic politics is not divorced from the Zanu PF succession” drama, the 49 year-old woman’s entry (into the fray) and conduct has equally bad and ominous ramifications for this sunset party for many reasons.

Firstly, the fact that “the puppet has seemingly become a Muppet” is so bad that we might have some inadvertent casualties in the not-too-distant-future on the side of those who thought they had played such a crucial card.

Secondly, the Grace factor has also made nonsense of the “straightjacket notion” or talk and where military elites claim they would not salute anyone without war credentials, and that Zanu PF’s quest to weed out weevils through the 15-year track record is in tatters now.

Crucially, what message is Mugabe sending by allowing his wife to trash fellow government leaders and “convict them of corruption” at rallies, and yet Police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has not been sent in to investigate them?

On the other hand, her reckless and unrestrained attacks on elected government leaders has also trashed the notion of separation of powers between state-craft, and party politics or business.

But this is typical Zanu PF — a party that knows no rules and the tragedy of it all is that people have been concentrating more on the Mujurus, and Mnangagwas, yet the real violator is the nonagenarian himself.

By tossing the rulebook out of the window, it is quite clear that this new group is driven by power for the sake of it and will retain it by any means.

“Power as a fetish has so long been retained… through brute force without any pretence to civility and respect for legitimate means of negotiating authority," the Pretoria-based writer said.

“The discourse of degrees in violence comes from this deployment of systematic violence to coerce the masses to consent to Zanu-PF rule,” Macaphulana said.

From the parallels it has drawn with the tone of Grace’s speeches to the precise nature of this self-fulfilling prophecy, I could not have put it any better than the unconventional.

This is the new script led by a highly-ambitious coterie now projected as the only bunch committed to the “manufacture of consent” and yet the likes of Mujuru have also done their fair share of using “soft power”.

However, they stand - used and - vilified today for trying to show Zanu PF’s moderate side and by brazenly humiliating the VP, it is quite clear that Grace and her “handlers” are on a mission to create phantom enemies for Mugabe.

Their quest, to remain in power.

Through the self-styled semiotician’s view that the Zanu PF leader only uses graft allegations to eliminate challengers, the same is true of Mujuru’s current predicament because when it suits him — and his wife — they actually embrace or surround themselves with more corrupt elements than this hapless woman.

For their benefit, the people behind this destructive campaign have conveniently twisted the government number two’s presumed open-mindedness and alliances as a harbinger for state infiltration, and worse still, a coup-in-motion.

The truth, though, is that no one in Zanu-PF — including those ranting themselves hoarse and given to throwing up decoys such as the Grace card – necessarily love Mugabe.

For the uninitiated, the First Lady herself has told us and in a sheer affirmation of what party spokesman Rugare Gumbo had told us in an unsual statement weeks ago.

Apart from their chequered political records and dalliances with hostile international agencies, whatever they are doing is for self-gain and nothing else.

So desperate have been these elements to seize power from Mugabe that they cannot win without feigning a war against “real plotters such as Mujuru” when their ultimate aim is the doddering leader’s seat.

The characters who today want to project themselves as paragons of virtue have virtually confirmed they are the real users of violence and corrupt ways — a constant theme in Grace’s language and countrywide addresses.

Overall, the First Lady’s tours have been cast by some spin-doctors as a panacea for Zanu PF’s policy dearth, factionalism and stunt that the party was capable of positive reform, yet the outcome of this useless enterprise has been to galvanise the view that Mugabe and his ilk are still steeped in their primitive ways.

Crucially, Grace’s savage attacks on Mujuru — and superficially Mnangagwa — have actually demonstrated one thing: that the shake-shake building is virtually on fire and whatever spin there is to do: the whiff of change is upon us; and Zimbabweans only need the Grace-types to escalate the process.

And through his extended periods of silence, Mugabe has somehow confirmed our concerns that he is actually behind this circus — and as what the indefatigable Chronicle told us this weekend.

Just as events in South Africa showed us in 2007 and when Thabo Mbeki fired Jacob Zuma, maybe something will give out of those put under immense pressure by the 49 year-old businesswoman’s reckless conduct and political machinations.

In this, we only need that “coalition of the wounded” to be more creative and imaginative — and not this humdrum politics in the Movement for Democratic Change formations.

For decades, this derided bunch has put the hard yards for Mugabe, but perhaps it is time to put a chink in his armour — if not modicum of invincibility and legitimacy.

But just as the Daily News challenged him last week, the real Zanu PF strongman must stand up and show leadership by firing those he believes are conspirators — beyond the scale of the Baba Jukwa saga.

Lastly, it would be a safe bet to say whatever they thought was “an ace” could actually turn out to be a Trojan horse.

Comments (2)

Communists tried for years to find enemies left right and centre only to find that it was the Comminist party itself that was a proble. Where if the Russiam Communist Party today...the dustbins of history, so ZANU is close to that moment. To make matters worse gays have infiltrated the party and are now using chidzoyi Grace to speak and create chaos with a mistaken belief that Mugabe will purges his long-time cronies like Stalin did in the period after the second world war. In the end they will all fall from grace. Even Munhumutapa fell from grace just like all Emperors before and after

garikayi - 19 October 2014

A very good analysis! If Grace knows there is factionalism, why is she not deriding the other faction leader? And by the way, why is she criminalising Mujuru's 10% investments in diamond mines? Is it a crime?

grandy - 19 October 2014

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