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Do not under-estimate Grace Mugabe: Wikileaks

by Staff reporter
18 October 2011 | 2122 Views
United States diplomatic cables intercepted and leaked by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks claims that First Lady Grace Mugabe should not be underrated because she wields so much power and influence over President Mugabe.

The First Lady acts as President Mugabe's gatekeeper and often controls people that see him and what information gets to him.
The First Lady also played a crucial behind the scene role during the power-sharing negotiations after the disputed presidential run-off poll in June 2008.  

One cable quotes then US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray saying the First Lady wielded immense influence over the former guerilla leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 32 years. Ray made the assessment after a meeting with Norwegian ambassador to Zimbabwe Gunnar Foreland, an experienced Africa hand, who provided his insights on Zimbabwe.

The Norwegian ambassador told Ray on November 25, 2009 that many people did not appreciate the role the First Lady played in terms of having the President's ear.  "She acts as a kind of gatekeeper, often controlling who sees him, and what information gets to him," Foreland reportedly told the US top envoy in Harare.

In this, she is assisted by (Reserve Bank governor Gideon) Gono who acts as (President) Mugabe's bag man and who has played a critical role in most of Grace's 'businesses'.




The cable said the First Lady had made more headlines for her "shopping" than for her political role, but she started coming into the political limelight after the March 2008 elections which her husband lost to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In another cable dispatched on July 25 2008, Gono reportedly said he had discussed amendments to the power-sharing deal with the President and the First Lady and that the couple was agreeable to an accord with several amendments, including that President Mugabe should be allowed to serve as President indefinitely and should not have to retire at a certain time.

The cable said the power sharing agreement was drafted by Econet boss Strive Masiyiwa.


Grace Mugabe Wikileaks

Source: NewsDay

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