Is Grace in charge now?

HARARE - Analysts and opposition parties yesterday accused First Lady Grace Mugabe of reinforcing negative perceptions that there had been “a bedroom coup” at State House and that her nonagenarian husband, President Robert Mugabe, was no longer in charge of the country’s levers of power.

This followed the gaffe-prone Grace’s brazen flaunting of her political influence on Wednesday when she humiliated vice presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko publicly by revealing that the two Zanu PF strongmen took instructions from her.

Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony for a housing project in Kadoma, Grace — who has no formal executive functions — surprised the gathered crowd when she disclosed that she often sat down with the two VPs, who were both present at the function, to tell them what to do.

“The leadership of VPs has changed. It is different because in the short time that these two men have been appointed to office, I cannot count how many times I have sat down with them and discussed the development of Zimbabwe.

“That is the leadership that we want, leaders who know they are servants of the people. They know they are there to work for the people and understand that they have been given jobs to work for the people.

“They know that they must sit down with amai to discuss about developmental issues. I support that. VP Mnangagwa, I support that and am sure you have lost count the number of meetings we have had.

“This never happened in the past as there was a woman who wore dresses like me (former Vice President Joice Mujuru) but never came to me to discuss about the development of Zimbabwe.

“But I tell you, Mnangagwa comes with a notebook, Mphoko comes with a notebook to listen to me. They know I am younger than them but they appreciate that I am amai and I have something to tell them about developing the nation.

“They will be taking down notes as I speak. I tell you, they will be jotting down notes as I speak so that the nation moves forward. I would like to tell them that I want that relationship to continue because that is the only way Zimbabwe can develop and become successful,” Grace said.

And in a development that reflected her power, both VPs went out of their way to brown-nose her at the function, while Mnangagwa appeared to seek her permission first when he was about to depart early before the end of the function.

The opposition parties and analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Grace was “wittingly or unwittingly” reinforcing concerns first raised by former war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda that she was now Zimbabwe’s de facto leader.

Sibanda, who was subsequently booted out of Zanu PF, colourfully pronounced that he was not going to allow “any coup both in the boardroom and in the bedroom” at the height of Zanu PF’s factional and succession wars last year — as it became increasingly clear that she had become very powerful in the run-up to the ruling party’s disputed December congress.

The utterances subsequently resulted in Sibanda being incarcerated on charges of breaching the country’s controversial slander laws — insulting or undermining the authority of the president — and the matter is still before the courts.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, said it was “clear that Grace is now the de facto leader of Zimbabwe”.

“When you have two VPs, pen and notebook in hand, daily taking notes and instructions not from the president, but from his wife, it means a de facto Head of State is now in charge.

“Mugabe should resign on account of dereliction of duty, even though that duty was stolen in the first place. And some may have a legitimate concern as to where the president will be when his two male deputies engage in these regular consultations with his wife.

“And just like the economy which is now largely informal, so too have the president’s powers gone to the streets. The powers are now on the informal market and being vended in the streets, far from the designated places,” Tamborinyoka said.

MDC Renewal Team spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, said bluntly that Zimbabwe had allegedly become a banana republic.

“No wonder the country is in an economic mess. The VPs are taking notes from a person whose only experience is managing an orphanage. What is pitiful is that senior government officials are taking notes from a novice. It puts paid their purported credentials as commanders during the war when they are tossed from pillar to post by Hurricane Grace,” Mafume said.

Zapu spokesperson Mjobisa Noko said it was allegedly clear that Mugabe was “no longer fit to rule”.

“Observance of the Constitution has been thrown out of the window. The First Lady has now become the de facto Head of State and Commander-in-Chief, which does not surprise us.

“We have a president who is a nonagenarian and is always airborne and reneging on his duties. As Zapu, we reiterate that Mugabe is no longer fit to rule. He has failed the nation as he is abdicating his duties to his wife,” Noko said.

Spokesperson of the smaller MDC led by Welshman Ncube, Joshua Mhambi, said Zimbabwe was “being run like a monarch”.

“The claim by Grace Mugabe that the two VPs consult her on matters of development reveals a serious government crisis. Zimbabwe is a republic and not a monarch, but as things stand, this republic is being run like a monarch,” he said.

Senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavhinga, said what Grace had revealed  inadvertently when she said the country’s vice presidents were now in the habit of taking notes from her was “the emergence of a family dynasty”.

“Why would government leaders take notes from her when she has no post in government? It is becoming clear that while her husband is around, she has become the power behind the throne, but only because Mugabe is around.

“It is also a sign of bad governance and a breakdown in the rule of law. Government must be run by established institutions not through kitchen cabinets or at Grace Mugabe’s feet,” Mavhinga said.

Political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said Grace was “running the state affairs from the First Family’s bedroom”.

“What she says carries the day. The elected president is too old and tired, leaving the energetic and ambitious First Lady in control. It may not be too far off the mark to speculate on who will be Zanu PF’s presidential candidate in 2018,” he said.

Comments (26)

i always like the example of Ahab and Jezebel.When Naboth refused to give his vineyard to Ahab, Ahab went to his wife Jezebel the Queen. Jezebel devised a scheme to kill Naboth and Naboth was killed. This is exactly what Grace is doing , she is now the advisor of the President giving advise that is not sound for economic revival but advise that is selfish and toxic.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 3 July 2015

You can see that Mugabe's cabinet is impotent. Noone even Parliament has an powers to make decisions or change anything.No-one is motivated to do anything.This was Mugabe's strategy all along to ensure that the Government is stuffed up with yes men.Thus it is now easy for him to create the dynasty with his wife and relatives leading the pack.

Guranyanga - 3 July 2015

The revolution party is bus that has broken down in the middle of nowhere. Its 1924 model engine has taken a knock and ceased.Its wheels are now off and it is sitting on top of rocks. Its occupants are just relaxed waiting for the arrival of a new engine which they don't know its delivery date. Cde Stop it is one of its occupants who likes to sit on driver seat of this broken down bus , playing with the steering and hooting, going virtually nowhere. Grace is not in charge of anything.

X-MAN IV - 3 July 2015

2Kings 9:36-37......dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field...

Dee - 3 July 2015

At the point where Zimbabwe is today there are no formalities to be followed to bring back the country to normality. What is needed is a ruthless leader, a no nonsense leader, to get rid of the rot which is now embeded in our society. Action is needed like yesterday to purge,first the government, public institutions,private institutions and lastly the society at large of all the looting, corruption and mal-practices going on. In short: we need a leader who can initiate and execute a cultural revolution to retrieve our country from the cesspool it has fallen in. Don`t tell me about democracy here because democracy only works in responsible societies. NOT IN ZIMBABAWE AT THE MOMENT. The leader to start the ball rolling for a cultural change has to be clean ( or at least seen to be clean in the eyes of virtually all Zimbabweans across the tribal devides) otherwise whatever he/she will pronounce will boomerang as people will say look at yourself first. By clean I mean no condoning corruption, looting, tribalism,etc. This is the problem we have as a country: no clean leader who can effectively get rid of the rubbish that killed our once beatiful culture of doing things as Zimbabweans. Without being ashamed of it at all I think Mnangagwa comes close to fitting inthis position. Why ? Because he is a no nonsense man and if only he can dorn his own robes (other than the borrowed ones he is feigning to be comfortable in) then we can see a re-birth of our once beautiful country. Like him or hate him but at the end of the day you will find yourself (if you are unbiased) agreeing with me. Before anybody can go mad about my choice I would ask him/her to be fair-minded and look at our history at independence without bias.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 3 July 2015

To answer the question, yes Grace is now is in charge. But she has been in charge for a while. Mugabe is only a figurehead, a ceremonial president.

Inyika - 3 July 2015

Hey Masamba - Zimbabwe does not need a leader like Mnangagwa who has zero leadership qualities. Brutality is not a sign of good leadership. A good leader can restore Zimbabwe to its former glory without necessarily being brutal or merciless like Mnangagwa. You need a leader with a servant attitude who is accountable to the people and who places the nation first ahead of self interest. Mnangagwa doesn't have any of those qualities.

Inyika - 3 July 2015

Oh come on - the VPs needed their notepads to take orders - sometimes she like tea, and others, coffee.

david taylor - 3 July 2015

Hey Masamba, your thoughts are identical to mine. No to neo-liberal democracy. No to corruption. No to Uncle Toms. No to tribalism. No to austerity and economic recession imposed by the IMF/WB. We are our own liberators!! We need a strong no-nonsense leader like Mnangagwa.

mageja siziba - 3 July 2015

@ Inyika. " You need a leader with a servant attitude who is accountable to the people and who places the nation first ahead of self interest." That has already failed in our country. The country has deteriorated to being a laughable stock the world over in the hands of a president, two vice presidents and hordes of good-for-nothing ministers bent opn lining up their pockets at the expense of the people. I agree totally with you but as things are at the moment your kind of leader cannot function in a rotten set-up; cannot survive the machinisations of corruption and plundering now rooted in our society. Hence we need an exorciser, a purifier, a Mr no-nonsense who will precess the gyro compass to the true north. @mageja siziba. Sir,your key word/statement is : "We are our own liberators". This is exactly what I have been critisizing Mugabe for, for the last 20 years or so. I always ask him why should we look east or any other cardinal direction. I always ask him why can`t we look on the ground upon we stand. What happens to all the graduates he caps year upon year. Why can`t we make use of this vast human resource to change our country in its own unique way. We do not need to copy Mr X`s country. We are Zimbabweans and not bunch of stupid people we cannot run their country or manage their affairs. What is the point of colleges chunning out graduates every year who goes abroad to develop other nations` economies ? I worked for 10 years in a foreign country.My boss could not understand why a country producing such innovative and very productive workers could be a ramshackle.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 4 July 2015

As soon as my wife read mytwopost she retorted:"But darling ,the country needs money from foreigners to develop/change. M answer is : we have more than enough money and resources in Zimbabwe to effect the change. The problem is that our only valuable assets are being mis-appropriated by a handful of owns who care for their families only at the expense of the Zimbabwe populace.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 4 July 2015

let them do whatever they want these are the last kicks of a dying hose time will catch up with them. Zimbabweans are peace loving people

Godfrey Marimo - 4 July 2015

Decorate him the way you like but Mnangagwa does not have any leadership qualitiesPro Jonathan Moyo is far better than him if you still insisted that a twisted person should lead Zimbabwe...

mondli - 4 July 2015

Suwa ignorance is what has destroyed our once good country how can some one sane say Mnangagwa is near to a good leader ? This is the man who was in the fore front of gukurahundi when he was security minister . Him and Mugabe are the creators gukurahundi and to say a man with 20 000 human skulls under his belt is a no nonsense is to say thank you to him for he and his gukurahundi did in this country . We have clean leaders this country unless one has swallowed zanu blue lies that political Leaders in this country are useless especially Morgan . This is how zanu rubbishes good leaders and some of saw in the 80s when they demonised

Diibulaanyika - 4 July 2015

they demonised Nkomo in 1984 at a rally Mugabe even said pasi ne redumbu . So if someone is confused and knows nothing about Mnangagwa is better to zip up his mouth than trying to tell us lies here . Killing PEOPLE is being a no nonsense unless you think people are nonsense .

Diibulaanyika - 4 July 2015

those who assert that Mnangagwa is an obvious choice to take us to Canaan are either plainly naive or Zanu pf apologists trying to lead people astray.Mnangagwa's closet is full of skeletons from Gukurahundi,as Diibulaanyika rightly pointed,and he(EDM)continued to amass more and more skeletons ask anyone in Midlands province,chero makorokoza chaiwo have at one point tasted his ruthlessness

rasta for I - 4 July 2015

those who assert that Mnangagwa is an obvious choice to take us to Canaan are either plainly naive or Zanu pf apologists trying to lead people astray.Mnangagwa's closet is full of skeletons from Gukurahundi,as Diibulaanyika rightly pointed,and he(EDM)continued to amass more and more skeletons ask anyone in Midlands province,chero makorokoza chaiwo have at one point tasted his ruthlessness

rasta for I - 4 July 2015

those who assert that Mnangagwa is an obvious choice to take us to Canaan are either plainly naive or Zanu pf apologists trying to lead people astray.Mnangagwa's closet is full of skeletons from Gukurahundi,as Diibulaanyika rightly pointed,and he(EDM)continued to amass more and more skeletons ask anyone in Midlands province,chero makorokoza chaiwo have at one point tasted his ruthlessness

rasta for I - 4 July 2015

Zvese zvichapera one day.

Ndosvotwa Mhani - 4 July 2015

I need you to join me in starting a revolution. Watch this space!

Sam Manokore - 4 July 2015

She is brave,forthright,frank to the bone.She is just what Zimbabwe needs right now...

Aliphelithemba - 4 July 2015

she has been running the show for a while. I'm sure its becoming clear to all hardcore zanu supporters that their 91 year old leader has milked our country dry. with the situation fast deteriorating day by day, we face a dark future with very little hope for economic recovery. our nation is supposed to be the most literate in the region if not the whole of africa yet this is not reflected in our democratic dispensation and choices.

GodHelpUs - 5 July 2015

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