President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace’s utterances at recent public rallies and meetings have reduced the ageing former guerrilla fighter to just an ordinary man, analysts say.
They say at 90, Mugabe is too old to be able to run both government and party affairs, hence has thrust Grace, 49, to take charge albeit initially in the background.
While Grace has been working behind the scenes, her recent utterances at public meetings and provincial rallies seem to expose her as the brains behind most key decisions by Mugabe.
The first lady has claimed that she is the one who facilitated the appointment of Joice Mujuru as vice president, hence she has the power to force her to step down because she (Mujuru) was not helping the president among a myriad of allegations.
Political activist Mcdonald Lewanika said while Grace does not have the authority to ask Mujuru to resign; she certainly seems to have the power and courage to do so.
“This power stems from her proximity to the throne and also the political base that she has assumed through her association with both Mugabe and the Mnangagwa faction, as well as whatever groundswell generated with her rise to political office and the meet the people rallies.
“In fact, she is the power behind the throne and it is not too much to assume that she has been running the country from her bedroom, how else would one expect a nonagenarian to effectively run a country?”
Lewanika said it is perhaps this reality that accounts for part of the poor state of affairs in Zimbabwe’s polity.
“So the question is not whether she can force Mujuru to resign, she is forcing Mujuru out, what we wait to see is the methodology that will be used to ensure her ouster.
“The challenge, however, is that Grace’s influence and power is misplaced and will have a huge impact on historical political settlements in Zanu PF which over time have ensured stability and unity in the party based on balancing multiple interests.
“Her suggestion to have Mujuru resign will upset this balance or political settlement and may in the short term cause instability in Zanu PF and in the long term cause its demise as a united dominant force.
“This will impact on Zanu PF’s pursuit of hegemony and depending on what Mujuru does, may set the stage for the demise of Zanu PF as a ruling party.”
Centre for Community Development Zimbabwe, CCDZ director Phillip Pasirayi said it is clear that Mugabe is no longer in charge.
“Despite her lack of liberation credentials and a dodgy academic record, Grace is now an important player in terms of making key decisions in both Zanu PF and government.
“Yes, she does not sit in the Zanu PF politburo but she has the full support and backing of the bulk of Mnangagwa loyalists such as Jonathan Moyo, Josiah Hungwe, Saviour Kasukuwere and others who are seeing this as a golden opportunity to deliver a decisive blow to Mujuru’s political career.”
Pasirayi believes Grace is being used by the Mnangagwa group to end prematurely the political career of Mujuru.