Harare – The road has been all but opened for Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe to take over from her husband Robert after it was revealed that the ruling Zanu PF party would hold an elective congress in December.
At the congress, it is largely expected that Robert Mugabe will again request that the constitution of the party be amended, to create a post for a third Vice President, who should be female.
Currently, under the provisions set in the Unity Accord, one slot in the Presidium is reserved for former members of ZAPU, who are mostly Ndebele, or hail from Matebeleland.
It would be the first time that such a move is adopted. In 2004, Mnangagwa’s rise to the executive was blocked, after Mugabe opted to have one slot reserved for a woman. With the other slot reserved for a ZAPU cadre, Mnangagwa was effectively disqualified, despite holding majority nominations.
Khuluma Afrika understands that Grace Mugabe may not necessarily aim to have Mnangagwa expelled, but will rather push to become the third Vice President.
This would make her part of the executive, and in Mugabe’s absence she would become the acting President.
In the event that Mugabe becomes incapacitated or dies, at a time when Grace Mugabe was the last acting President, she would automatically become head of state and government for 90 days, while Zanu PF nominates its candidate to take over from Mugabe.
Inside sources have confirmed to us that Mugabe may choose to step down, leaving Grace in power, and with 90 days to consolidate her position in the party and as President.
“Once she becomes the third Vice President, the power grab would be complete. It is more a matter of when and not if now, unless something drastic happens”, a member of the ruling party’s politburo who spoke to Khuluma on condition of anonymity stated.
As the leader of the women’s league, Grace Mugabe would automatically be the candidate to take up any seat in the presidium which is reserved for a female.
Her party, Zanu PF enjoys a sweeping majority in parliament and any amendments they propose would sail through.
Khuluma Afrika is a center for investigative journalism and political analysis.
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