At 93, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is the oldest head of state on this planet. But he is not letting age gradual him down. He is operating once more in subsequent 12 months’s elections. But his spouse, Grace, 52, is positioning herself to succeed him within the occasion of his loss of life.
Mugabe has run the nation because it gained independence from Great Britain in 1980. Before that, he led an extended and bloody guerrilla conflict in opposition to the nation’s white settler regime.
“He is a very astute politician,” says Andrew Meldrum, badistant Africa editor for the Associated Press. “He is a wily politician. He has out-maneuvered everybody within Zimbabwe, and around Africa, and even internationally.”
He has held onto energy with a level of ruthlessness. Enemies have been jailed or killed. Even allies aren’t allowed to construct up any energy. Meldrum himself was jailed and expelled from the nation after reporting on torture.
“There have been vice presidents, but it’s a very perilous position to be in,” says Meldrum. “So the vice presidents are either elbowed aside or a trapdoor opens and they disappear.”
The newest instance is Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled into exile this week after being denounced by the Mugabes. Mnangagwa had been within the cupboard since independence, and was recognized for being extraordinarily loyal. He says he now fears for his life.
Grace Mugabe is greater than 40 years youthful than her husband. She was a receptionist once they met and started an affair. They had youngsters collectively, earlier than Mugabe’s first spouse died.
In the previous few years, Grace Mugabe has developed political ambitions, and began honing her political expertise. She’s taken over the Women’s League of the ruling ZANU-PF celebration. She’s held rallies throughout the nation, however “she is not widely popular,” in accordance with Meldrum’s evaluation. “She was originally known as ‘Gucci Grace’ among some people for her shopping trips overseas.”
“She has taken on a more political role,” he provides, “and she does distribute charity donations of clothes and food in rural areas. So she knows what needs to be done to gain popularity.”
Grace Mugabe has additionally weathered scandals, together with separate badault prices in South Africa and Hong Kong. She was capable of keep away from prosecution by baderting diplomatic immunity.
She has spoken overtly of her skill to turn into vp and succeed her husband, within the occasion of his loss of life.
When requested about making a dynasty, she says, “Why not?”
From PRI’s The World ©2017 PRI