Are there real contradictions between Mugabe, Grace

HARARE - When the First Lady Grace Mugabe was dealing mercilessly with former vice president Joice Mujuru in 2014, many thought the powerful Zanu PF women’s league secretary did not have the blessing of her husband, President Robert Mugabe.

With Mujuru increasingly appearing vulnerable towards her last congress in Zanu PF in 2014 in the wake of a vicious onslaught on her by Grace and her allies, Mugabe had insisted that despite the ranting by his wife, his deputy was not going anywhere.

Mujuru, in her own words, had even accosted Mugabe on several occasions to get clarity on her fate in Zanu PF and government but was lulled into believing that this was a passing phase.

The rest is now history.

Mujuru was eventually expelled, with Emmerson Mnangagwa, her biggest rival in Zanu PF, replacing her as one of Mugabe’s two deputies.

Fast forward to 2017, Mugabe and his wife seem to be pulling on different directions once again.

This time, the differences playing out in public are over the fate of Mnangagwa who is under vicious attack from rivals in the Generation 40 (G40) faction for harbouring ambitions to succeed the Zanu PF leader.

On several occasions, Mugabe has contradicted his wife whose punches are more direct and undiplomatic.

Last week, at a Zanu PF youth interface rally in Bindura, Grace said G40 does not exist but her husband admitted that the ruling party’s political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere was the leader of the G40 camp.

“Ndakatsvaka kuti ndiwane anything chinonzi G40 handina kuchiwana, asi Lacoste is there (I tried to look around but there is nothing like G40),” Grace said.

Grace defended Kasukuwere, saying he was not going anywhere, claiming the reason why he was being targeted was that he refused to join the Team Lacoste, which is backing Mnangagwa.

In what seems to be a clear contradiction to his wife, Mugabe says Kasukuwere was the leader of the G40 faction.

“VeG40 iyi vakazviparira ivo vana Kasukuwere, ndivo vakazvipa zita iroro. Zvakauya sei? (The name G40 came from the likes of Kasukuwere). This came after (former American president Barack Obama) won the election, he was still in his 40s. After that, we heard that the likes of Kasukuwere were demanding to have a government which is led by people who are still in their 40s.

“Now Obama is no longer there, you are now Zimbabweans. We are Zimbabweans, we have our rules, Zimbabwean rules, we have our history, our Zimbabwean history of the revolution. We are not Americans. No. So we cannot be Obamas. We are not British, no we cannot be Blairs. We are Africans, we Zimbabweans, let’s be proud, even where we differ. We all belong, all of us,” said Mugabe.

The two also seem to be contradicting on the issue of choosing a successor, with Mugabe saying the party’s constitution doesn’t allow him to do so but Grace is insisting that he must play a critical role in anointing his heir apparent.
“When the president is tired he has the right as a member of the party to choose a person who can succeed him,” Grace said recently.

But Mugabe thinks otherwise.

He argued recently: “We never have had our presidential system, procedures, unguided by the rules of the party. I am the president but I cannot choose the successor, I cannot say I want to be succeeded by Mai Mugabe, Emmerson or Phelekezela (Mphoko). It is contrary to the constitution. I cannot do it. It is not allowed. The constitution says the successor must be elected at congress.”

At the same rally, Grace attacked Mnangagwa but Mugabe played a balancing act –attacking both factions.

Ironically Grace warned Mnangagwa that he risked going the same way as his predecessor Mujuru if he does not rein in his supporters.

Another incident that has set tongues wagging relates to Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi-Moyo who was booted out of her position in the women’s league by Grace.

While many expected Mugabe to follow through that action by removing her from her ministerial position, this has not happened.

Following her embarrassment by Grace, the public media had even imposed an unofficial blackout on her coverage, but with Mugabe remaining mum on the issue, that has since been lifted.

To her credit, even in the face of the seeming contractions, Grace has insisted that the final word rested with her husband.

The multi-million dollar question is whether these contractions are real, imagined or intentional?

Analysts canvassed by the Daily News on Sunday believe that these are not real contractions but choreographed political machinations that are meant to deal with the first family’s perceived rivals.

Mugabe has previously praised his wife that “she was a rough swimmer”, implying her band of politics has found space in his broader scheme of things.

Alex Magaisa, an analysts, reasoned that there is a temptation to read Mugabe’s softness in Bindura as signalling a divergence with his wife and that somehow, he is ready to embrace and accommodate Mnangagwa.

“But that would be a gross misreading of the Mugabes’ approach. Mugabe and his wife have a common project in mind. One is simply playing the bad cop, while the other is playing the good cop. Faced with both, a suspect might fall for the apparent benevolence of the good cop, without realising the two have a common object,” said Magaisa.

“...In regards to Mnangagwa, there is no contradiction between Mugabe and his wife. There might be some residual sympathy on Mugabe’s part, on account of a long relationship with his subordinate, but it is clear both him and his wife are not happy with and have lost trust in Mnangagwa,” he added.

Coming onto their different takes on the succession question, Magaisa said the difference between Mugabe and his wife was that while the latter and her allies would like to have a preferred successor in place, Mugabe still believes he has more left in him and can manage until the next congress.

“It is a huge gamble given that his demise would give advantage to their rivals unless Mugabe uses the intervening period to reorganise the establishment including strategic retirement and elevation of some of the generals,” said Magaisa.

Political analyst, Gladys Hlatywayo, said Mugabe was a Machiavellian politician and these contradictions were fictitious and nowhere near the truth.

She said the havoc being caused by Grace was being sanctioned by none-other than Mugabe himself and anything else was wishful thinking.

“It appears the same strategy used on Mujuru is being used. Whether it will be successful depends on how Lacoste responds and so far we have not seen any meaningful response,” opined Hlatywayo.

Political analyst, Shakespear Hamauswa, believes that Grace knows what Mugabe thinks and she always speaks on his behalf.

Hamauswa said there were no real contradictions as the differences were only tactics where Mugabe is a skilful politician while Grace’s utterances were based on what she knows to be in the thoughts of her husband.

He said the game plan was meant to save the interests of the first family while for Mugabe the other real issue was to leave a united Zanu PF and remain the only leader who defied the winds of change either within or outside his party.

“They might end just at frustrating the Mnangagwa camp without necessarily dismissing him. Now the challenge is that Ngwena (Mnangagwa) has become more popular with the Command Agriculture, though discredited, there are many who benefited,” argued Hamauswa.

“Again, there are institutions and other influential nations that have shown their respect and trust in Ngwena. So dismissing him might be more fatal to Zanu PF than what happened with regard to his predecessor — Mujuru.”

Mujuru’s 42-year association with Mugabe and Zanu PF was ended in the run-up to the ruling party’s hotly-disputed 2014 congress, when she and other former high ranking officials were expelled on untested allegations of plotting to oust and assassinate the incumbent.

Political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, was of a different view though.

He argued that these were clear contradictions than manifest the level of chaos and confusion in not only the first family but Zanu PF and government.

According to Saungweme, it betrays incompetence of the highest order when even people who are supposed to be husband and wife contradict in public on basic issues.

“You will remember the discord in government among Cabinet ministers over policies, all this points to one thing that we are led by an incompetent regime,” he said.

Saungweme also opined that Mugabe was a master of doublespeak, adding that his wife was now his official mouthpiece.

“What she says is what is coming. Mugabe is just a master of doublespeak. But what is coming is what Grace says,” Saungweme said.

Saungweme said while Mugabe was trying to hold his ground on certain issues, age is not on his side.

For that reason, his wife and the G40 faction could be taking advantage of his advanced age.

“Sadly, unless Grace is stopped by others what she wants in the succession issues no matter how shallow and disastrous will carry the day,” said Saungweme.

No matter the divergent views on this matter, the wheels are turning in Zanu PF and soon the jury would be out.

Only time will tell!

Are there real contradictions between Mugabe, Grace?

    Comments (7)

    Same tact same method was used to evict Joice.Mnangagwa would be history very soon.Grace had the clumsy audacity to remind Ngwena that she warned Mujuru the same way she is warning him and what else does the Ngwena want?The writing in bold letters is on the wall.

    Gen. Spinola - 17 September 2017

    Ngwena hakuna kwaionoenda , he is the next president of zimbabbwe

    WEzaka - 18 September 2017

    Remember Pastor Mugadza's prophecy. 17/102017 is fast approaching.

    Dzvuke Muchaina - 18 September 2017

    Ngwena chete chete.

    viola gwena - 18 September 2017

    ED is overatted. If he is a man, he has the opportunity to take over by declaring a coup. Doesnt he have the army on his side. I understand the first family has gone to the UN dzinza rose including vazukuru plus bags of hard cash. This is oviously insurane, just in case chinobvomdoka. But as Margret Dongo said long ago, all these pretenders itseketsa, only Bob ndiro Jongwe reZanu PF.

    Mainini Emmer - 18 September 2017

    Need help financially? Why don't you try trading? Earning right in the comfort of you own home. Interested? Google Superior Trading System now.

    junnrreymonnde - 19 September 2017

    The sad truth of our politics is that we al become commentators in our affairs, never participants. Let's take back the reigns of our country from Marujata and co. Ngachibvondoke!

    Kwidz - 19 September 2017

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