On Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:57:57 -0500
RS Wood <email@example.com> wrote:
And Gucci Grace is behind it.
Meet the woman whose insatiable appetite for power set in motion
Zimbabwe’s ongoing military coup: first lady Grace Mugabe.
The 52-year-old shopaholic, who has earned the nickname “Gucci Grace”
thanks to her taste for designer clothes, allegedly convinced her hubby
— dictator “President” Robert Mugabe — to sack his heir apparent,
ushering in a military backlash that left the 93-year-old despot under
house arrest while she hightailed it out of the African country to
With Mugabe’s Era Ending in Zimbabwe, a Warning Echoes in Africa
In the end, though, his deft touch deserted him as he weighed the
question looming over the end of his regime: who would succeed him. By
favoring his polarizing and politically inexperienced wife over his
powerful vice president, whom he fired last week, Mr. Mugabe
overestimated the loyalty of the military and security elite who took
him into custody early Wednesday in what appeared to be a coup.
Mr. Mugabe’s family became his blind spot. He miscalculated the fierce
anger that their unrestrained behavior caused in his nation, now
suffering through another period of deep economic crisis. Though active
in politics for only a couple of years, his wife, Grace Mugabe, 52,
made it increasingly clear that she wanted to succeed her husband. “If
you want to give me the job,” she told her husband at a gathering this
month, “give it to me freely.”
Mr. Mugabe’s sons, who are in their 20s, have added to the anger among
Zimbabweans by regularly posting pictures of their lavish lifestyle and
partying on social media sites. Last week, a video emerged showing Mr.
Mugabe’s younger son, Bellarmine Chatunga, pouring Champagne over an
expensive watch on his wrist. On his Instagram feed, he wrote, “$60 000
on the wrist when your daddy run the whole country ya know!!!”
Goodbye, Uncle Bob. You were fired because you fucked up that crucial,
final step: figuring out who gets access to the loot after you.
HARARE, Zimbabwe — The rapid fall of Zimbabwe’s president, whose
legendary guile and ruthlessness helped him outmaneuver countless
adversaries over nearly four decades, probably has surprised no one
more than Robert Mugabe himself.
For years, he was so confident of his safety — and his potency — that
he took monthlong vacations away from Zimbabwe after Christmas, never
facing any threat during his long, predictable absences. Even at 93,
his tight grip on the country’s ruling party and his control over the
military made his power seem impervious to question.
But in just a matter of days, Mr. Mugabe, who ruled his nation since
independence in 1980, was largely stripped of his authority, even as he
still clung to the presidency.
In a much-anticipated speech on Sunday night, Mr. Mugabe, instead of
announcing his resignation as most of the country had expected, stunned
Zimbabwe by refusing to say he was stepping down. While he conceded
that his country was “going through a difficult patch,” he gave no sign
that he recognized, or accepted, how severely the ground had shifted
under him in such a short time.
Earlier in the day, the governing ZANU-PF party, over which he had
always exercised total domination, expelled Mr. Mugabe as leader, with
cheers and dancing erupting after the vote. He was given a deadline of
noon on Monday to resign or face impeachment by Parliament.
Just as in 1980, Zimbabwe’s Celebration May Be Short-Lived
Both men were part of the network of patronage that has cemented the
ZANU-PF elite in power. When Mr. Mnangagwa was chosen on Sunday as the
party’s new leader, some outsiders may have been reminded of an old
Sicilian adage coined by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa: Everything must
change so that nothing will change.
“The ousting of Mugabe,” Jason Burke wrote in The Observer on Sunday,
“was a redistribution of power within the ruling elite of Zimbabwe, not
a people’s revolution.”
But there are differences. Mr. Mugabe took over a viable economy and
infrastructure. White-owned farms produced crops that fed the region
and tobacco that earned foreign currency. Smooth roads unfurled across
Mr. Mnangagwa, by contrast, will inherit a husk. And unlike the tens of
thousands of Zimbabweans who greeted Mr. Mugabe in 1980, their
descendants in the streets of Harare on Saturday may well feel that the
last thing they want in a post-Mugabe era is for history to repeat