FORMER Finance minister and MDC-Renewal president designate Tendai Biti believes First Lady Grace Mugabe is effectively in charge of government affairs.
Biti told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview that Grace is now marshalling key people within the ruling party to upstage Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is widely viewed as President Robert Mugabe’s heir apparent.
“That woman (Grace) is the defacto leader of government. When she tells people that Mnangagwa and his compatriot Phelekezela Mphoko take notes from her she really means it,” Biti said.
“Now she is looking for dejure power and Mugabe has no power to stop her now.”
The prominent lawyer said Grace has ganged up with the so called Generation 40 group of Young Turks led by local government minister and Zanu PF national Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
“She has roped in Kasukuwere and Jonathan Moyo onto her side. You can also tell that she has decisively moved to bring back Oppah Muchinguri into her group,” Biti said.
Last week in Binga, she told the Tonga people that she is working with ‘strong women Muchinguri and Mahofa’ (Shuvai, Masvingo provincial affairs minister).
“That to me was critical. It meant that despite the fact that she does not like Muchinguri, Grace knows the water affairs minister will be key. Now she will go for the jugular and the Binga declaration was the first salvo,” the former treasury chief said.
“Now we have to wait with bated breath, Grace might do a Mujuru (Joice) on ‘Ngwena’ (Mnangagwa.”
Muchinguri of late seems to have fallen out of favour with Grace after being forced to leave her position as Zanu PF Women’s League leader to make way for the First Lady.
Mujuru was stampeded out of Zanu PF in the run-up to the Zanu PF congress last December with Grace at the forefront of the verbal attack.
Mugabe’s wife embarked on a whirlwind tour of the country accusing Mujuru of all sorts of things including treason, witchcraft, corruption and nepotism.
While addressing scores of rural people in Binga last week, Grace said she was ready to “blow the whistle again” in a pointed statement seen as aimed at Mnangagwa.
“We know they have been mobilizing since 2013 claiming they want to take over from President Mugabe. But let me warn you. When you are asked to act it does not mean you have been anointed heir apparent. Be patient. You should ask yourself why God continues to give a 91 year old power to stand for two hours,” Grace told her audience.
Biti said the coming weeks will be critical.
“Grace would have told Mugabe at home that she wants the top job. Whether he likes it or not I am convinced that she has rejected both a ministerial and parliamentary position because she wants some kind of independence.
“She would have been bound by parliamentary rules if she had agreed to represent Harare East or Epworth.”
“She would have been bound by Cabinet rules if she had taken up the Women’s ministry. But now she is a loose cannon and will do as she pleases.
“She can commandeer the ZBC to cover not only the project launches like the Binga one but also the launch of her ice cream range in Mazowe. The country’s governance institutions have been activated and are falling over each other to please her,” Biti said.
He gave the example of Grace’s birthday donations that saw corporates rushing to donate millions.
“Even government ministries like Finance that usually do not send congratulatory messages were forced to this time around. I think she got even more money than we have been told and may still be getting more as we speak.
“She has a war chest and ready for the final showdown now. They have made money from Mugabe’s travel and will call on that for the fight for not only Zanu PF but also Zimbabwe.
“We are heading for a catastrophe and Ngwena could be in more trouble than he has ever imagined or bargained for,” added Biti.