Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa, Grace Finally Meet Amid Tensions

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and former First Lady Grace Mugabe, centre, at the arrival of former President Robert Mugabe’s body from Singapore at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare.
12 September 2019

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Wednesday finally met former First Lady Grace Mugabe after the former Zanu PF allies' bitter relations escalated with the November 2017 ouster of the now late former State leader Robert Mugabe in a military assisted coup.

Since Mugabe's overthrow, Mnangagwa and Mugabe communicated through emissaries and there has been no known occasion that the Mugabes have met the incumbent.

During the period leading up to last year's elections, Mugabe claimed harrassment by Mnangagwa and vowed never to vote "my tormenters".

Before Mugabe's ouster, Grace staged rallies across the country denouncing and labelling Mnangagwa a traitor.

There was no mistaking the tensions between the two when they were finally united by Mugabe's dead body at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Wednesday.

Mnangagwa broke the tensions when he told thousands of mostly Zanu PF supporters who thronged the airport that Mugabe was an icon.

He maintained his predecessor was going to be buried this coming Sunday.

The Zanu PF strongman described his former boss as the "light" that lit Zimbabwe to independence.

Mnangagwa also took the occasion to console Grace and family.

"We are here to receive our founding father of the nation of independent Zimbabwe," he said.

"Our revolutionary commander during our armed liberation struggle and our icon of Pan Africanism, the man that created our nation, the man that led us to this day has left us.

"We are gathered here to receive his body. We are grieving and we say our deep condolences to the former First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe who has brought the body with us here today.

"The entire nation of Zimbabwe, our people across the board are in mourning, the light that led us to independence is no more but his works, his ideologies will continue to guide this nation."

The gathering that listened to Mnangagwa's speech included government officials.

Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to show love to the late former leader while observing peace and unity during the days of Mugabe's mourning.

He maintained earlier reports Mugabe was being buried this coming Sunday but did not say where.

Mugabe's burial place has been subject to speculation since his Friday death with unconfirmed reports saying the once stubborn national leader refused burial at the national shrine when he dies.

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