Grace Mugabe: New Zanu-PF kingmaker?
07 April 2014, 15:04
Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace is reportedly emerging as a powerful political force within the ruling Zanu-PF party as she fights "to ensure that the interests of the first family are secured" when Mugabe eventually leaves office.
According to The Standard, a senior Zanu-PF official said the first lady became interested in the country's politics after it emerged that a section within the ruling party was pushing for Mugabe, 90, to quit before his five-year term of office expired in 2018.
The report said although the first lady was not interested in any position within the party, some of bigwigs within Zanu-PF were "now abandoning their factions to rally behind her".
'Chaos' and 'fissures'
The Zanu-PF official was quoted as saying Grace's influence had seen Mugabe failing to implement certain decisions agreed by the party.
The official said indications were that whoever eventually succeeded Mugabe would need to have the blessing of the First Lady.
This comes amid what has been described in the media as "chaos" and "fissures" within the Zanu-PF, as different factions position themselves for the eventual succession of the veteran leader.
There are two main camps dividing the Zanu-PF party. One faction is linked to Vice President Joice Mujuru and another is reportedly led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe, who turned 90 in February, has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980.