Sunday, May 27, 2018
Grace Mugabe

Grace Mugabe

Government of Zimbabwe

SPECULATION suggests the ailing 91-year old Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, has turned consort while his wife is now sovereign – a ‘Coup de Grace’, as it has been wittily described. Quite what this portends for Zimbabwean politics is the subject of conjecture. We do know, however, that whilst ZANU-PF’s top dogs scramble for position in the succession race, very little of governing and leadership is taking place. Therefore, the regulatory uncertainty and profound economic dismay in Zimbabwe is set to continue for which we make Mrs. Mugabe our totem. Even by Zimbabwean standards, 2015 was choppy. Diamond miners were told in March 2015 that they had to sell 50% in shares. In May indigenisation talks between the government and South African platinum miners stalled as it became clear the Mugabes had no interest in providing compensation. There was some acknowledgement, though, that the hardline stance on royalties wouldn’t wash in the current market: a 15% levy on unbeneficiated platinum assets was iced while gold industry royalties were reduced to 3% from 5% in January 2016. The impact of the drought on hydropower availability has seen Zimbabwe ask miners to throttle back power consumption a quarter. And all the while, China’s grip over affairs tightens: in return for cancelling $40m in debt, the Chinese Yuan was adopted as legal tender

LIFE OF GRACE

Grace landed Bob in 1996 in a high profile marriage. She had been the president’s secretary and mistress bearing three children, the last in 1997. ‘Gucci Grace’ or ‘The First Shopper’, Grace Mugabe is know for her extravagant tastes dropping $75,000 in one 2003 Paris shopping spree. 2014 was her breakthrough year politically. She was designated head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League and had Joice Mujuru ejected from the vice-presidency. She now occupies an office between her husband and his two vice-presidents.