Zimbabwe: People Give Grace Justice When Mugabe Dies, Says Former Leader's Cleric Confidant

Former president Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace Mugabe (file photo).
18 December 2017

Zimbabweans will do justice to Grace Mugabe when her husband dies, a Catholic cleric and confidant of former President Robert Mugabe has ominously indicated.

Father Fidelis Mukonori is understood to be one of the few people close to Mugabe, a famed loner, who was forced to resign last month after a revolt by the military and his own Zanu PF party.

The Catholic cleric mediated between the military Generals and Mugabe who, as part of his resignation deal, was allowed to remain in the country, enjoying the perks due a former president as well as immunity over the outrages of his 37-year reign.

The security and material guarantees reportedly also apply to Mugabe's divisive wife Grace who is widely blamed for his inglorious exit from power.

However, what will happen after the death of her 93-year-old husband remains uncertain.

Asked about that in an interview with an international Catholic magazine last week, Father Mukonori was not reassuring for the former first lady.

"When asked about her future after her husband dies, (Fr Mukonori) says calmly, 'I'm sure that people would do justice to her'," reports the American Jesuit Review magazine.

"He speaks fondly about Mr Mugabe's first wife, Sally, but his demeanour changes when he speaks about Grace," said the publication adding, "One cannot but help feel that Father Mukonori attributes Grace Mugabe's greed for power as a serious contributing factor to her husband's political demise".

Grace was the nuclear weapon deployed by Zanu PF's G40 faction in the succession war against the rival Lacoste group which backed Mugabe's then deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa.

With the aid of allies such as former cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwao and ex-vice president Phelekezela Mphoko, Grace staged rallies around the country where she savagely attacked Mnangagwa and military Generals.

At the height of her power and influence, Grace was widely seen as de facto State president, as she and her G40 allies allegedly exploited her husband's age-induced near infirmity.

But alarm within the ruling party and the military spiked as it became clear that, beyond crushing Mnangagwa and her Lacoste group, Grace was now determined to succeed her husband as leader of the party and country.

However, the scheme ironically collapsed with G40's success against Mnangagwa. After the Lacoste god-father was fired from the party and government by Mugabe, the military intervened resulting in the latter's resignation.

Mnangagwa has since taken over as President, with G40 drivers such as Prof Moyo, Kasukuwere and Zhuwao escaping into exile.

Describing, what led to Mugabe's fall, Fr Mukonori chose very strong language. The problem, the cleric explained, was "Political debauchery... political division... slicing each other's character... trying to position each other for power".

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