First Lady Grace Mugabe has eliminated herself from the succession race as her recent outburst in Johannesburg where she allegedly walloped a 20-year-old South African model after she found her at the same hotel with her two sons “has confirmed her reputation as a vitriolic and temperamental individual in the eyes of many Zimbabweans”, Newsweek says..
Grace Mugabe is considered one of the major contenders to succeed President Robert Mugabe together with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, though both have said that they do not have any presidential ambitions.
A Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front faction that allegedly backs the First Lady also threw in Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi into the race.
Newsweek says Grace Mugabe has largely been riding on the back of her husband who has been at the helm of Zimbabwe for 37 years, the first seven as executive Prime Minister.
“She’s very much seen as a latecomer who is existing and thriving on her husband’s reflected glory, but substantively she lacks proper credentials,” it quotes Charles Laurie, a Zimbabwe expert and head of politics at Verisk Maplecroft, a U.K.-based risk consultancy, as saying.
Laurie added that Grace Mugabe’s behaviour in South Africa “is pure gold for her political opponents in terms of highlighting a Marie Antoinette-like, world apart existence from the general public.”
Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France from 1774 until 1792 who became famous for her lavish lifestyle. She was subsequently executed. She married at 14.
A senior researcher at the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa, Derek Matyszak, told Newsweek that Grace Mugabe’s behaviour had clearly shown Zimbabweans that she did not have the poise necessary to be president.
“She’s known as operating on a very short fuse, she’s known to be intemperate, so this kind of thing wasn’t seen as being out of character, it was seen as being entirely within character,” he said.