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.

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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?

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