Grace Mugabe, the 49-year old wife of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, may succeed her husband in office. According to the BBC, speculations about the possible succession of Mugabe by his wife have gained currency, following her recent endorsement as the next leader of the governing ZANU-PF’s Women’s League, a powerful position, awaiting ratification at the party’s congress in December.
The speculations intensified earlier this month when Mrs. Mugabe was awarded a PhD in Sociology just two months after enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe and with her doctoral thesis conspicuously absent from the university’s online archives. Andrew Harding of the BBC reported that when he contacted ZANU PF’s spokesperson, he replied: “Please no…I am not answering anything related to that. Come on, you can’t ask me why not. This is an indication that the subject of enquiry was an uncomfortable one.
There are suggestions that she has been given a more prominent position as a way of stopping VIce President Joyce Mujuru, the leading contender to succeed Mugabe. Simba Makoni, a former ZANU PF bigwig who ran against Mugabe as an independent candidate in 2008, was quoted by the BBC as suggesting that Grace is being lined up as successor by her husband. “Grace is poised to lead the Women’s League…in December. That is a given. And my hunch is she is not going to end there, realising how easy it has been for her to get there in such a short time. So, I would say watch this space-there will be more happening,” reasoned Makoni.
While many dismiss the notion of a Mugabe dynasty emerging, others argue that Mugabe, 90, is incapable of trusting anyone outside is immediate family to succeed him. Mugabe has spent three decades in power.