Name Your Successor, Grace Mugabe Urges Her Husband

Grace Mugabe and  husband President Robert Mugabe
Grace Mugabe and husband President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe said Thursday she was ready to support whoever is chosen by President Robert Mugabe as successor, insisting the veteran leader’s choice would be final.

Cabinet minister Tshinga Dube was recently rebuked by Mugabe for making the same suggestion with the veteran leader insisting that his successor was a matter for the ruling Zanu PF party to decide.

However, in comments that betray her growing fears her 93-year-old husband could be seeing the last years of his lengthy career, Grace told a Zanu PF women’s league national assembly meeting in Harare that Mugabe should break his own vows and appoint a successor sooner rather than later.

Grace (and some say her husband) is linked to the G40 Zanu PF faction which has now openly backed defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi to take over from Mugabe. The rival faction rallies around vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa

“There is no succession that takes place without the involvement of Mugabe; there is none!” she screamed.

“He has a say as a citizen of this country. I know the President has always said ‘no, no, no, I don’t want to impose any candidate’.

“But I have always argued with him that ‘you have a role, you have the right to be part of that process’, to say who will take over when you leave President because we respect him. So, his word will be final. Mark my words, his word will be final!

President Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, who has vowed to protect her husband’s job during her previous rallies, importuned Mugabe to name his successor.

“I am asking him now in front of you. How come in some country, people like (late South African President Nelson) Mandela left (former President Thabo) Mbeki and in other countries, we hear their presidents leave so and so.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe 

“President, don’t be afraid. Just tell who you want us to support,” Grace declared amid loud cheers from the floor.

The First Lady said she was ready to support whoever was Mugabe’s choice.

The stance by Grace, somebody with full knowledge of President Mugabe’s deteriorating health could mark a new chapter into Zanu PF’s succession politics.

Her comments also betray the First Family’s inner thoughts as Mugabe finds himself at odds on how he could best secure the future of his young family and its assets.

At a ripe age of 93, Mugabe’s turbulent political career is way into the twilight stage, something that is fuelling intense horse trading within his feuding party.

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First Lady Asks President to Name Successor
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