Zimbabwe's First Lady, Grace Mugabe says her husband, should name a successor

Zimbabwe's First Lady, Grace Mugabe says her husband should name a successor
Zimbabwe's First Lady, Grace Mugabe says her husband should name a successor
Zimbabwe's first lady said on Thursday that her 93-year-old husband should appoint a successor, addressing a topic that President Robert Mugabe considered taboo.

Grace Mugabe told members of the ZANU-PF women's league that nominating a successor "will allow all members to rally to a candidate," said public broadcaster ZBC.

The world's oldest head of state has repeatedly declared that he would not choose a successor. The president says he will contest elections next year. He has headed the South African nation since 1980.

His wife has previously stated that her husband could even reign even from the grave. "If God decides to take her away, then we would prefer to track him down in the next election," she said earlier this year.

This is the first time that Grace Mugabe has publicly asked her husband to appoint a successor, although she does not say whether her statements were intended for next year's election.

52-year-old Grace Mugabe, who leads the ZANU-PF women's league, has become increasingly strong in politics. Her decisions have sometimes carried more weight than those of the country's vice presidents, and she has witnessed her own political rallies since 2014.

Although she is considered a potential successor to her husband, she sent mixed signals. She said she did not care to become president, but in other cases she said she did not have such ambitions.

She said Thursday that her husband's choice of a successor should be final. ZBC announced that it declared by appointing a successor "has been the trend in other countries".

She also used a biblical analogy of a son who held a party to crown himself because his father was close to death.

Some analysts have suggested that Robert Mugabe, who obviously struggles to walk these days, could call an early election.

The secretary of his party, Ignatius Chombo, said last month that Mugabe could call an election in February or March. It can only do so if Parliament chooses to dissolve. His party holds the majority there.

The constitution stipulates the earliest date that Mugabe may call an election is in July 2018.

Fighting to succeed Mugabe has intensified in recent months, with military ministers and generals engaging in commercial insults on the general public and social media on this issue.

Mugabe and his wife warned against senior officials of the party uniting as successors. A Cabinet minister, Jonathan Moyo, has repeatedly erred that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close ally of Mugabe since the war of liberation of the 1970s, has succeeded. Mnangagwa denied the claim, saying he is loyal to the president.

Mnangagwa leads one of the two factions that are preparing to succeed Mugabe. The first woman is associated with a young faction called G-40 or Generation 40.


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