The fall of Grace Mugabe


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Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean academic based at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, says that the new administration was likely to go after Grace to settle old scores.

The former first lady was linked to a faction in the ruling party that briefly forced Mnangagwa into exile in South Africa before he returned a couple of days later to seize power in the palace coup.

Grace has remained virtually untouched since Mnangagwa took power, yet those in the faction that backed her in the battle against the then vice president have since been forced into exile or have been arrested.

“Former President Mugabe was her shield,” Magaisa added.

“They could never have publicly humiliated former President Mugabe during his lifetime for fear of upsetting neighbouring governments whose support the regime needs. President Mnangagwa knew that Mugabe still commanded a great deal of respect across Africa. They would have regarded any action against him as humiliating and disagreeable,” he said.

“After all, they had supported President Mnangagwa when he usurped power and in return, he was expected to treat the old warrior with dignity. Likewise, going after his wife would have been regarded as an indirect assault on the former president.”

Magaisa said the relationship between the former First Lady and Mnangagwa was likely going to be strained.

“Life after Mugabe will be precarious and uncertain for Grace and her family,” he added.

“Grace’s allies know their future lies in a post-Mnangagwa era but there is far too much animosity for there to be any trust between them.”

In June, Mnangagwa said the former First Lady “has about 16 farms yet the law says one family one farm”.

He alluded that the farms would be repossessed once the government completed an audit to identify senior officials who allocated themselves more than one farm during Zimbabwe’s controversial land reforms programme.

The Mugabe family spokesperson Leo Mugabe said they were assured that their properties would not be seized.

“The issue of properties is being handled by the president,” he told state controlled media. “He is handling the issue to ensure that the family is safe.”- East African

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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