HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsIs Grace Mugabe the game changer?

Is Grace Mugabe the game changer?

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Well, you have to give it to First Lady Grace Mugabe. Within three months she has changed the game within Zanu PF where we have seen inconceivable expulsions and the sidelining of those we assumed were at the centre of the power.

GUEST COLUMNIST VINCE MUSEWE

It must now be clear, whether we like it or not, that she will hold considerable sway in who becomes what within Zanu PF and government as along as President Robert Mugabe is alive.

I suspect she will also have significant say on Zanu PF policies going forward as the secretary for youth and women who make the majority members of the party.

The MDC-T has failed to remove Mugabe through the ballot box even after winning elections since 2002. The internal progressive forces within Zanu PF itself have also clearly failed to orchestrate the removal of Mugabe as its leader through the election processes.

We, the ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe, through our civic organisations and churches, have also failed to unite and act to accelerate change and the removal of a dictator.

I do not think I would be wrong to come to the only conclusion that besides the army, only Grace can persuade Mugabe to retire

The revelations by the now bitter Rugare Gumbo that their sin was saying no to Mugabe being President for Life and no to him nominating Grace to succeed him, confirms what we have dreaded all the time: That Mugabe is obsessed with power and will hold on even if it means that this country suffers from his continued misrule. Leadership renewal initiated by Grace could therefore be the only option that is available to us.

I think that I overestimated the power that Zanu PF leaders have within the party.

As I have said before, Zanu PF belongs to the Mugabes and they will continue to totally dominate and control it, that is not about to change.

I can anticipate that Mugabe will proceed to appoint VPs who do not pose a threat to him and are approved by Grace. We are most likely therefore to have lame ducks who are not about to take the risk of challenging him on his plans to elevate his wife, given what has happened to Joice Mujuru and her alleged allies.

Mugabe is certainly not about to hand over power to anyone other than Grace or someone he completely trusts and these count a few if any.

The question I am asking myself is: Would a Grace Presidency be necessarily a bad thing for Zimbabwe? You see, we need to have a situation where we don’t really care who is at State House. We need to develop an inclusive economy that respects our rights as Zimbabweans. That is what we must fight for.

So let us for a moment assume that Grace convinces Mugabe to retire before 2018, this would mean that Grace could be the Zanu PF 2018 Presidential candidate.

It is my contention here that they would have to rig elections for them to win because we must never accept elections that are run by Zanu PF as before, we simply must refuse to participate.

So if Grace becomes President before the 2018 elections it would be for a very short time indeed, but this will be totally up to us especially as regards the next elections. However, if Zanu PF wins the 2018 elections, then we would be in big trouble.

Let us imagine Zanu PF wins the next elections while Grace is VP. She would of course take over soon after and have a five-year stint as President till 2023. If that is the case, we might be forced to work with her.

My advice to her would be to root out corruption, and appoint competent people in government that are not necessarily within Zanu PF.

Sort out agriculture and focus on rebuilding our infrastructure. She could establish a coalition government with opposition parties so that we can start rebuilding Zimbabwe in an inclusive manner.

If the elections won by Zanu PF in 2018 are viewed as free and fair, which is of course highly unlikely, this would mean that the international development partners must come to the party and assist in the economic revival of the country. If not, Zimbabwe will surely collapse.

In my opinion, our high road as a country would be of course to get opposition parties to win the next elections so that we can open a new chapter in Zimbabwean politics.

Our opposition parties must just come together to make sure that this happens, but I worry when I hear that some of them are keen on courting Mujuru and her cronies.

We never learn, do we? Anything to do with Zanu PF must be put in the dustbin of history if we are to create the Zimbabwe want. That is so critical if we are to live to our full potential as a country.

So, yes, Grace is indeed a game changer and we can either use the change to our advantage or sit in awe and wait for her next move.

But let us not leave our fate in the hands of opposition political parties, let us as ordinary Zimbabweans create our own new narrative with less political interests.

The future we must create should be significantly different from the past. We have given our politicians too much of our power and we must take it back, but we can only do so if we are organised, not necessarily to confront or fight, but to change the game of how politics is played and create a new urgency for social change, that is the least we can do.

We must liberate our politics by taking the responsibility to create our own future.

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