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OPINION: Grace Mugabe should have been allowed to lead Zimbabwe

By Sitati Munoko | November 26th 2017

In my village, there is an old adage that a girl child is like a couch grass-it meanders from the source to an unknown place. The old scoundrel men used this proverb to disinherit girls their wealth in favour of the boys. African culture for a long time has been ant-girl child independence.

The recent happenings in Zimbabwe have been the talk of everybody worldwide given the brutal way President, Dr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe led his country. He was a spiritual leader in the Southern country. He led with an iron fist and dealt with his opponents and dissenting voices. 

Chinua Achebe said that a toad does not run in the day for anything. The moment President Mugabe sacked Vice Presidents Joyce Mujulu and then Emmerson Mnangagwa unjustifiably to place his wife Grace as successor, it wasn't business as usual.

That's how African leaders prepare for succession by strategically dismantling strong close associates feared to be a threat. As Franklin Roosevelt said in politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way So Mugabe was planning his succession.

After all, in Africa, deputy or vice presidents do not inherit the presidency. They have always been betrayed. In Kenya, the late Professor George Saitoti who was Vice President to President Moi for over 13 years but short-changed in 2002 by the introduction of Uhuru Kenyatta. Equally, Kalonzo Musyoka was shortchanged by Kibaki despite rescuing him in the disputed 2007 elections. And that is the story in the rest of African countries.

African leaders have always wanted leadership to be a family affair. In Uganda, President Museveni is grooming his son Muhoozi who has risen in military ranks like an earthquake despite his age. Equally, in Gabon upon the demise of President Omar Bongo Ondimba, the ruling party leadership by consensus chose his son, Ali Bongo as his successor.

Ali, who was seen as a spoilt son born in Congo-Brazzaville, brought up in France and living a pop star-like life was not the darling of the majority. In Africa, leaders always place their family members in influential positions in the government for inheritance purposes.

In Togo when the long-serving President, Gnassingbe Eyadema died, the military ignored the constitutional protocol of the speaker taking over in the interim. Instead, the army installed his son, Faure Gnassingbe as the President.

Grace has been derided as a typist who rose to be the first lady and now had presidential ambitions. This was a mockery of Grace as a woman. Who says a typist cannot have presidential ambitions? Give her a break and know that she is the first lady and knows the sweetness of power.

In Kenya, we have a self-proclaimed ‘chicken seller’ and son of a peasant as the Deputy President with Presidential ambitions in 2022.

Back Zimbabwe, the misogynistic war veterans and the military should allow Grace to offer herself to the people for a presidential post. They may have fought for freedom but since 1980 a lot has changed and perhaps she will be the change Zimbabwe needs.

Therefore the premature strangulation of Mrs. Mugabe's ambition to be the president of the Southern country is against the spirit of an establishment. An outsider should not just be allowed to take power impromptu.

I strongly believe that Grace Mugabe should have been given an opportunity to take over power from her husband. That's what happens in Africa.

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