A Look At Grace Mugabe: The Office Worker Who Wanted To Rule Zimbabwe

The spectacular rise and fall of Zimbabwe’s uncompromising First Lady, Grace Mugabe, had an unusual beginning: an office affair. It was the early 1990s when President Robert Mugabe’s eye fell upon one of his shy young typists.

She would become his wife, a ferociously ambitious politician and, more than two decades later, a contributor to the downfall of her 93-year-old husband.

President Mugabe is trying to cling to power after the military took over this week in response to his purge of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, a liberation war fighter and Grace’s sworn enemy.
A Look At Grace Mugabe: The Office Worker Who Wanted To Rule Zimbabwe
Mnangagwa’s aides even accused her of trying to poison him with ice cream from her dairy farm this year. She denies this.

Grace, now 52 and under house arrest in Harare, had been calling for Mnangagwa’s removal for weeks as the two fought an increasingly bitter winner-takes-all contest to succeed the man who has led Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

It wasn’t the first time Grace had wielded influence over her husband. When it appeared former vice president Joice Majuru was in line to succeed Mugabe in 2014, he fired her following public rallies at which Grace derided Majuru.

This time she appears to have gone too far.

The purge of Mnangagwa and many of his comrades irked the military, who had no intention of allowing Grace and her youthful Generation 40 (G40) faction of the ruling ZANU-PF to take over the political reins.

Deeply unpopular among much of the Zimbabwean public due to her alleged corruption and volatile temper, Grace does not have the liberation credentials the military believe are required to be a Zimbabwean ruler.

The lavish lifestyle that earned her the nickname “Gucci Grace” and the political ambition that almost propelled her to the presidency were not evident when she met her future husband.

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