Robert Mugabe travelled to Gweru, the provincial capital of the Midlands province. He addressed party supporters, members and party leadership. The build up to the rally was tense. No one could quite predict what would happen, but everyone knew a lot would happen.
A lot happened.
So, what did we learn from today’s rally?
- Grace Mugabe tones down her language
Grace Mugabe was a key and focal point before the rally. She has been marred by controversy. She made the front page of literally every newspaper after she attacked a South African model in a Sandton Hotel.
The incident torched a diplomatic storm, with at least half of South Africa’s cabinet supporting the police minister’s bid to criminally charge Grace Mugabe. She was granted immunity at the last moment and escaped after midnight.
This was her first appearance in public since the chastening debacle in South Africa. Before she was humbled in Mzansi, she had gone on an offensive against a faction in Zanu PF, Lacoste.
She demanded Mugabe name his successor, much to the annoyance of several key figures in the security sector.
Today was a different day. She backtracked. A near 180 degrees. There was no ‘chosen one’ talk today. No talk of Mugabe ruling from the grave.
‘When he is tired he will tell the party and rest’. That was the new line, new mantra.
2. G40 kingpins left with egg on the face
When Grace Mugabe effectively stated that Mugabe could ‘anoint’ a successor, her usual cheerleaders sprung up in her defense, and in total support.
The usual culprits, Ministers Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, and Patrick Zhuwao all weighed into the debate, either subliminally or in plain rich text.
Another Minister, a Mugabe loyalist, Sydney Sekeramayi was even touted as a potential ‘anointee’.
Grace Mugabe’s u-turn, and sudden allegiance to the traditional party line leaves her foot soldiers badly exposed. It means they are on record for supporting two parallel methods.
Mugabe’s word cannot be final, and he cannot anoint a successor if the candidate still needs to come from the people. Those are parallel realities that cannot exist at the same time.
3. Contradictions galore expose the Mugabe’s desperate gamesmanship
On a day of massive contradictions, it was not just succession that exposed clear lying from the first family. Mnangagwa’s health was always going to be part of the dialogue.
Independent media reported that he was poisoned, and traces of poison had been found. Sympathetic ministers maintained that the VP had eaten stale food.
The President dismissed both.
Robert Mugabe stated that he believed his deputy was not a victim of food poisoning. This is in sharp contrast to the angle propounded by Minister Jonathan Moyo.
It means twice on one day, the foot soldiers have been dumped after being misled.
It brings all things into perspective though. If there is a chess game, it is clear who the pawns are, and who is moving them.
4. Mugabe still loves his lays
Well, not really a lesson. But Mugabe still enjoys his lays. Secure in comfort. For a President who preaches about local empowerment, it would be good to see him eat some willards spuds instead!
- Khuluma Afrika