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State capture is in the air, and Grace Mugabe has built an effective dynasty

By Maynard Manyowa

 In 2014, Grace Mugabe, then commonly called Gucci Grace burst onto the political scene. The boss of the ruling Zanu PFs women’s league at the time, Minister Oppah Muchinguri, willingly gave up her seat, midway during her term, to allow Mrs. Mugabe to rise to the throne.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace follow proceedings during a youth rally in Marondera about 100 kilometres east of Harare (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace follow proceedings during a youth rally in Marondera about 100 kilometres east of Harare (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

It was some miracle. But not her first. Before she rose from card carrying member to boss, Grace had risen from typist to first lady, after bedding, and then wedding the President, in that order.

Yet this particular miracle, is, was, and probably remains the most significant. From grassroots to pinnacle, it was the turning point.

In the wake of her virgin political power, Grace Mugabe went after those she claimed wanted her husband’s throne. Over 150 top officials fell by the wayside. The current Vice President, Joice Mujuru, became the highest profile casualty.

By end of the year, Grace had successfully replaced nearly all provincial chairpersons in the party via votes of no confidence. Youth chairs were not spared. Neither were leaders at district level.

For the longest time, everyone had called Grace Mugabe mad, sick in the head, or plain crazy. Not without merit however. At one point, she vividly described how wild bees court each other for sexual favours, before engaging in steamy sexual intercourse mid-air.

This in front of 6 and 7 year old primary school children who had been frog marched to her rally.Her own tone, her rhythm, and her movements, mimicked a chicken on a whistle. The adjectives appeared fairly merited.

In retrospect, Grace Mugabe embraced adjectives like the ones mentioned here before. At the time, we often wondered why.

Recently it has become abundantly clear. Like Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s President, who was often assumed to be stupid, there was always order in Grace Mugabe’s madness.

A petty woman, whose bodyguards have often assaulted reporters for asking embarrassing questions, Grace Mugabe ignored one explosive analysis after another, keeping her eye on the ball; in this instance, capturing the state

In the months that followed her ascent to power, Grace Mugabe has stated that she is in control, that the President, and his two Vice Presidents consult with her first before making any decision.

She has ruled the country by bedroom proxy, and she has not been ashamed to say so boldly. She has occupied a position, which has no constitutional provision, nor legal basis. One where she, as the wife of the President, runs the country as if it is her home.

This has not always sat well with the opposition, nor ordinary Zimbabweans. But as people have clamored and shouted, Grace Mugabe has quietly captured the entire state.

Earlier this year, her only daughter, Bona Chikore (nee Mugabe) was appointed to the Censorship Board haphazardly, as a means of dealing with ‘anti first family rhetoric and media’. In no time she was appointed to another board, for economic empowerment.

Mugabe’s other children, who have hogged the news of late, after they were evicted from their luxury Sandton apartment for excessive partying and drug use, were hurriedly rushed into business school.

The older son Robert, had been studying architecture in Dubai. He is now studying business, for the means and purposes of gaining useful training to return to Zimbabwe and run key stakes in the country’s parastatals (state owned enterprises).

Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, husband to Bona, is now the de-facto CEO of the national airline, after being installed Chief Operations Officer, despite lacking credentials. He is now set to run for a parliamentary seat, and sources say he will be made minister of a key portfolio, like defense, after the 2018 elections.

Grace Mugabe’s oldest son, before she ditched her husband for Robert, Russell Goreraza, is also being rewarded with a parliamentary seat. He too will be appointed as Minister of a key portfolio, like state security, or home affairs (which controls police).

Grace Mugabe herself, is flirting with the idea of Vice Presidency, then effective Presidency.

The dynasty is in place, well, almost.

With Robert Mugabe as President, his wife as Vice, and Mugabe’s sons controlling key state ministries, as well as parastatals, the dynasty will be fully in place.

It even extends beyond that. Even at the largest state University, Grace Mugabe has installed a family friend, Prof Charity Manyeruke. She is not the only family member, nor the only close associate who is now in high places. Its more than just family, it’s the whole state, which is being turned into Mugabe’s private Republic.


  • Maynard Manyowa is a contributing editor on Khuluma Afrika – a nonpartisan center for political analysis and investigative journalism.