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Grace eyes Zim’s top job, but she’s no mother of the nation

Harare – “To be a national mother (Grace Mugabe) who fails to control two children. How can we allow that? She must first deal with her two sons then think of leading a village,” says a man in a short video doing Zimbabwe’s social media rounds.

 

Many say the speaker was Victor Matemadanda, secretary-general of the National Liberation War Veterans Association speaking informally after a press conference in Harare on Friday in which he and a small group complained about the “first family” after Grace Mugabe went public and for the first time called on her husband to name his preferred successor.

 

President Robert Mugabe told the Zanu PF women’s league, of which his glamorous wife is the First Secretary, that the ruling Zanu PF should consider amending its constitution to allow for a third vice president who must be a woman. “We have heard your complaints and recommendations.  I also have two suggestions….we leave things as they are at the top and consider the idea of three vice-presidentsm  to add a woman to the two”.

The first family’s two sons, Robert Jnr, 25, and Chatunga, 21, were recently kicked out of a luxury flat in Sandton for bad behaviour, including allegations both were drunk and wrecked the apartment. They were both seen in Harare’s top shopping area in the last few weeks, and it is not certain whether either of them will return to South Africa to study.

 

Grace Mugabe, 52, the largest property ‘owner’ in Zimbabwe, has not denied her sons behaviour and says they were overtaken by “evil spirits.”  In Harare’s small malls, most say many richer youngsters in Harare are doing cocaine.

Grace Mugabe’s eldest son, Russell, 33, from her first marriage, also has a wild reputation in Harare and has been reported in the media for aggressive behaviour with workers on a gold mine he controls. He also killed a pedestrian in Harare while he was allegedly speeding and was convicted of culpable homicide.

 

He does private work for his mother and recently was part of a gang, along with his brother-in-law, Simba Chikore , of taking over three upmarket houses in Harare which belong to a Lebanese diamond dealer who last year sold their mother a diamond ring for about R26 million. Grace Mugabe paid for the ring but refused to accept it when it arrived. This case is still in process at the Harare High Court,

 

Now Grace Mugabe, many believe, has the stamp of authority to become a vice president and is in the camp of the so-called G40 group in the succession game ahead of Robert Mugabe’s departure from office.

 

But others say that Grace Mugabe would be satisfied if defence minister Sidney Sekeramayi, 73, followed Robert Mugabe as president.  He has not reacted to the recent rumours that he is being choreographed by Moyo and co to front for her.

 

The G40 group, lead by higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, presented a long video to the Zanu PF politburo recently in which they allege that the main vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to take power from Mugabe, in other words, Mnangagwa is planning a coup. The war veterans like Matemadanda and the military support Mnangagwa and are against Grace’s further elevation within Zanu PF.

 

Promise Mkwananzi, a prominent anti government activist, who says he accepts the opposition has no hope of winning next year’s elections said: “Grace Mugabe will not be good for Zimbabwe. You heard what the war veteran Victor Matemadanda said about Grace. She is not the mother of our nation.

 

“She opened a school on her estate, but it is only for the children of rich people. The Mugabe’s are pillaging the country taking so many farms and other assets. Grace’s ally, Jonathan Moyo is a madman. Mnangagwa is a better devil.”

 

Moyo choreographed Zimbabwe’s most repressive legislation agains freedom of media when he was information minister.

 

Other analysts such as Zimbabwe legal academic Alex Magaisa, from the University of Kent said: “the fact Grace Mugabe has for the first time made a public call upon her husband to name a successor suggests something big is brewing. She knows a lot more about her husband than anyone else. It could be she has finally come to terms with the reality that he is mortal like all other beings and that it is better to prepare for a future without him. Grace Mugabe must be genuinely concerned about her family’s future after Mugabe and the issue of naming a successor is important to her.”

 

The Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba did not answer questions about Grace Mugabe on Saturday. Grace Mugabe and her husband have taken more white-owned farms then any others since the land invasions began in 2000. She has built several houses, two schools and is involved in an informal gold mine as well as owning the largest dairy in Zimbabwe. Some of the family’s farming activities were funded by the state.

 

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