Friday, 27 May 2016


FIRST Lady Grace has come under fire for declaring that President Robert Mugabe “will rule from the grave” during the Zanu PF million-man-march in Harare on Wednesday.

Analysts and opposition parties said the message was a clear sign the 92-year-old leader wanted to die in power. MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said the decision on who rules the country lies with the people. 

“However, Grace’s statement is a serious indictment on able-bodied Zanu PF leaders and activists,” he said. Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said Grace appeared to have an idea of when Mugabe was likely to go and was preparing the nation for that eventuality.

He said the fact that Zanu PF failed to mobilise a million people showed that people had at best resisted Mugabe’s overtures. “Zanu PF talked of a million, but by any stretch of the imagination that crowd was nothing more than 80 000 and that is nowhere near what they advertised. 

“Zimbabweans are looking for money, they cannot access their cash in the banks, some are looking for the next meal and the irony was that the majority of those who were gathered have no idea what a payslip looks like. That was nothing more than a show of phantom love for the dear leader. There is nothing to thank Mugabe for,” Ruhanya said.

People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti said Mugabe had effectively abdicated his throne and handed over power to his wife.

“It tells you that we are dealing with a group of men and women that have totally captured the Zimbabwean State, and have no inclination of letting power go,” he said.

“Grace is confirming the dynastic name in Zimbabwean politics. The biggest cheers went up for anyone who chanted Pamberi naGrace (Forward with Grace). It indicates a changing of the guard and the husband is definitely passing over to the wife. Grace’s legitimacy is her husband and she will rule as his proxy.”

Academic and publisher Ibbo Mandaza said the event was never about the numbers, but the message meant to foreclose any ambitious individuals within the party.

“It is confirmation of what we have always known that Mugabe wants to be life President. Grace’s underlying message was that they obviously have someone in mind when Mugabe goes. The message was also to affirm that the Mugabe dynasty will continue to rule even when he is gone, at least by their calculation. It forecloses any ambition and the likes of (Vice-President) Emmerson Mnangagwa and (Defence Forces chief) Constantine Chiwenga have a lot to think about,” Mandaza said.

But Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo refused to comment on the matter seemingly scared of upsetting Mugabe’s wife.

“I do not comment on opposition parties, I am not their spokesperson. One must respect the First Lady, we do not go around commenting,” Khaya Moyo said.

Mugabe was also urged to dissolve his Cabinet after revelations by Zanu PF deputy secretary for youth Kudzanai Chipanga that the majority of ministers were enriching themselves at the expense of serving the majority.

Chipanga told Mugabe that ministers were competing to own the latest luxury vehicles yet the country was facing economic challenges.

“The MDC has always stated that the entire Zanu PF Cabinet, including President Robert Mugabe himself, are not fit for purpose. They have always had misplaced priorities since 1980,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said: “This is an admission of failure that should compel Mugabe to surrender. It is again a confirmation of rampant corruption and incompetence within the Mugabe administration.”

NCA’s Madock Chivasa said it was public knowledge that Zanu PF was a corrupt party and Chipanga’s comments confirmed what they had been saying about ministers abusing their positions.
Political analyst Gladys Hlatywayo said the entire Zanu PF leadership had misplaced priorities.
“How else can one describe the so-called one-million-man march? In a country that is grappling with hunger and cash shortages among other socio-economic challenges, they have the audacity to blow thousands of dollars in a single day,” she said.Newsday


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