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‘Grace Mugabe will be a political factor in 2018, dismiss her at your own peril’

By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo

I know my assumptions will draw a lot of criticism both at local and international level and many people will label me a sell-out but we must live with reality and not to have guess work. The truth of the matter is Grace Mugabe is on her way for presidency and her ascendancy to the top job will likely to be soon after the watershed election in 2018.

Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace at his 92nd birthday celebrations last year. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP
Robert Mugabe with his wife Grace at his 92nd birthday celebrations last year. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Mugabe is a mastermind in politics and he has done very well in coming up with so many strategies and manoeuvres until he wants things done in his own way. For now you can dismiss Grace at your own peril but this is a fact, Grace Mugabe is on her way for presidency.

My analysis as a political and development analyst is that Mugabe will make sure he secures Presidency at any cost in 2018, whether Zanu PF is going to win in a free and fair way, forget about that for now that is not our topical issue, but I can assure you, come 2018, Mugabe will win 2018 elections and then assume his role as President shortly before handing over power to his successor in a democratic way.

Most people have ruled out G40 as a nonentity you need to study politics in a more broader and sincere way and never make a mistake of dismissing G40 as a non political factor because come 2018 it will be a reality. What people don’t know is that G40 was created by Mugabe so as to control the Lacoste faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa so that his position is not threatened and it has worked very well to his advantage.

So many names have been thrown in on the succession debacle such as Gideon Gono, Sydney Sekeramayi and others but the truth is the first lady may have her chance or luck to lead the southern African Nation. Zimbabweans should be prepared for that.

Getting back to our main issue, when Zanu PF secures the 5 year mandate they will then call for a special congress which will be agitated by Mugabe’s loyalists, and Grace Mugabe’s name will then be thrown in. There is nothing the opposition can do to stop it, because Mugabe and Zanu PF would have secured their mandate through a legal process which is called an election, so it is up to the party to decide who should lead the nation, it will be an internal process and on that one no one to blame because the formal and legal process would be followed.

What then it means is Grace will then assume the role of Presidency and then will use that opportunity to consolidate her power in the remaining years ahead of 2023 elections. My strong analysis is that the current crop of opposition leaders in our country do not have the guts and confidence to win 2018 elections. They messed big time during the GNU era and most of these guys were compromised by money and women and some dipped their hands in dirty deals and they were much weakened and it will be very difficult for them to win 2018 elections.

Opposition needs to go back to the drawing board and start afresh to make plans for 2023 elections. For now they may have to fight for control in the national assembly. I know it is painful but it is important to have a strong analysis basing on the current events.

If you look at the current MDC alliance there is so much confusion, to an extent that Morgan made some critical decisions without consulting the internal process and this has caused so much confusion which will cost them in 2018 harmonised elections.

I know such analysis will draw a lot of criticism but many people will only agree with me in 2018 after the results have been announced. People may think Zanu PF is badly fractured which is not true, in actual fact Zanu is enjoying the monopoly because most people‘s attention has been diverted and focus was on the coalition and it is part of Zanu PF‘s strategies to divert people’s attention ahead of 2018 elections so that people will lose focus on opposition and they will admire the Zanu PF wars and come 2018, opposition will not be prepared.

Zanu PF cannot risk to go for elections without preparedness, in actual fact they are on the ground with resources, giving food hand-outs, traditional leaders are busy coaching people on what to do, whilst the opposition is busy in terraces watching these matches that Zanu PF is providing them.

Yes events that took place in South Africa may affect Grace in a negative way but Zanu will apply damage control using state media and other media outlets, this will not have any bearing on her prospects for Presidency. This should not surprise anyone after 2018 because analysts have warned you. Most people may think Mugabe has lost control in actual fact it is a strategy, the opposite is true, Mugabe is in control of the State and Government operations.

One advantage on his side is that he has state machinery on his side, he has the technical experience and he knows how to deal with internal rife and he has solid experience on how to bargain for power. As from 2018 to 2023 Mugabe’s closest people will be placed in strategic positions so as to prepare for the well groomed successor ahead of 2023 elections.

My view is it was going to be good if Morgan would hand over power to the young Kuwadzana Law maker Nelson Chamisa who has strong appeal to the grassroots level so as to keep the party alive for future contest. Chamisa has the advantage of age on his side and he is also educated and he has Government experience which will boost his relevance on the political scene other than those who are in the MDC and other opposition parties.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as the Head of Southern Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (SIPAR) which is responsible for Policy Analysis and Research. He is also an academic, Researcher and political analyst based in Zimbabwe and Zambia. He can be contacted at [email protected]