Dialogue Online No. 1/2016: Succession Politics in Zimbabwe: Grace Mugabe and the End of Patriotic History By Tamuka Charles Chirimambowa

9 March 2016

In this piece, University of Johannesburg PhD student, Tamuka Charles Chirimambowa, examines the possible permutations of the ongoing factional fights within Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party to succeed the aging party and country’s leader, Robert Mugabe, who turned 92 years on the 21st of February 2016. Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, reportedly supported by a faction known as the Generation 40 (G40) is challenging the hitherto “heir apparent”, current vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, “Ngwena” (which means “crocodile”) supported by a faction called “Team Lacoste”. It is widely believed that Mnangagwa enjoys the support of the country’s securocrats, who include the country’s military, intelligence and the former liberation war fighters.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party has thus far rod on the discourse of “liberation war credentials” as a source of political legitimacy, the so called “patriotic history”, of which Grace has none. In fact the G40 and Grace herself, have questioned the claim of exclusive entitlement by former fighters. G40’s affront on Team Lacoste puts to question the view that securocrats, in particular war veterans, are king makers in Zimbabwe’s politics. Within this context, Chirimambowa argues that the “G40” could signal the beggining of the end of “patriotic history”. This will not necessarily usher in a democratic dispensation, but may present opportunities for civil society to re-introduce constitutionalism onto the national agenda.

Download PDF here: DO1of2016