News / Africa

Mugabe's Wife Poised to Take Role in Zimbabwe's Ruling Party

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday, Marondera,Feb. 23,2014.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace wave to supporters and guests during celebrations to mark his 90th birthday, Marondera,Feb. 23,2014.

Zimbabwe's first lady, Lady Grace Mugabe, is set to become part of the ruling party's highest-decision making body and possibly the country’s next president.

And analysts say the move could dent the chances of Vice President Joice Mujuru succeeding 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe when his term ends.

Two out of three key organs in Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party in recent days nominated Mrs. Mugabe to lead the party's women’s section. That puts her in line to be in the party’s central committee — its highest decision-making body.

Some analysts say Mugabe asked his wife to enter politics so she can take over. His term ends in 2017, although he is eligible to run for re-election. Others believe Mugabe wants to position her as a counterweight to Mujuru or other potential rivals in the party.

Oppah Muchinguri, who has been leading the party's women's section, said she will step down in favor of the president's wife. She hopes factionalism and debate over Mugabe's successor will now become a thing of the past.

“It is not easy because mother [Mrs. Mugabe] had been saying 'I do not wanna be in politics,'” Muchingur said. “But she was asked to join it. So mother; your children say lead us.”

Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are considered favorites to eventually take over from Mugabe, who has been Zimbabwe’s leader since 1980 when the country won its independence from Great Britain.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, who heads the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said that at minimum, Mrs. Mugabe will be significant figure in Zimbabwean politics going forward.

"This is Grace realizing that it is nearing his sunset in terms of his political career,” Ruhanya said. “Anyone who wants to take over from Mugabe must make sure that the future of the family is protected. If that person takes over from Mugabe, must make sure that Grace is found as a minister or an important figure in any future government after Mugabe."

On Friday, Mugabe addressed his party’s youth conference but mentioned nothing about retiring from politics.

On several occasions, he has attacked senior officials who talk about succession, saying that fuels factionalism within Zimbabwe’s ruling party.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: farandjustice from: hwindi
August 11, 2014 6:43 AM
I am shocked by the way Zanu pf people think. Chokwadi this isnt fun at all to bring Grace close. We cant be ruled with an office secretary, a cheat and a liar. There is nothing good and no change for Zimbabweans if these Mugabes continue to rule Zimbabwe like their own kingdom. People in Zanu should wake up and say no to this nonsense. Its high time for either Mujuru or Mnangangwa camps to tell Mugabe enough is enough. Kana vakatya ko isu hedu todii? Definately holding positions without delivering food, jobs and a better life for us is no a joke. Lets all stand up and say no to Grace and her ambitions. Because if we dont will continue to suffer and the whole world will laugh us.

by: Anonymous
August 10, 2014 5:06 AM
Africa , Zimbabwe alike would like to see women as leaders. Though she is Mugabes wife she may be the right person.

by: Tatenda from: UK
August 09, 2014 5:53 PM
President Chiwenga is delighted that she has positioned herself for consideration as our next Party Spokesperson. He will announce his final decision in due course.

by: max ajida from: pretoria South Africa
August 09, 2014 6:39 AM
Mugabe is creating his political Kingdom that will protect him from facing criminal charges. He is wise enough to detect what follows after his retirement from active politics. Zimbabweans won't make mistake to vote for her. They know that voting for her to the presidency, it'll be like re-electing retired Mugabe back onto the driving seat.
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
August 09, 2014 11:06 PM
What's the real problem here? WHAT if Grace Mugabe become a democratically elected president of Zimbabwe! You don't want her at all because she is a woman or because she is the current wife of Robert Mugabe? What's it, bro?

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs