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Marujata vs Nathaniel Manheru - signs of a crumbling empire

by Moses Chamboko

Madness is when Grace Mugabe and George Charamba both pretend to be what they are not. Not long ago, George Charamba, the presidential spokesman and secretary for information, "disclosed" to the world that indeed, he was the acerbic character known in media circles as Nathaniel Manheru, a character foolishly and blindly pro-ZANU PF. But, of course, we all knew that already!

Charamba and Grace MugabeOn the other hand, Dzikamai Mavhaire, in one of his best straight talking moments, gave Grace Mugabe the most befitting nickname, Marujata - the worst name or label for a woman in the traditional African context - a person known for causing confusion, fighting, division, hatred, at times even killings in the village. Marujata is the epitome of an uncultured woman who can easily split families by setting brother against brother. As well, she is generally a character of loose morals.

It is events of the last few days that have brought these two names to the fore. At a youth interface rally (euphemism for succession rally) in Chinhoyi last weekend, Grace Mugabe, in typical Marujata style, dressed down George Charamba in front of youths and cameras. She asked Charamba to stand up, and he did. She then gave him a lecture on how junior he was to ministers and what his role was in government. He was also reminded that he was not a politician and therefore, must keep away from politics. She all but said "You and I are opportunists who don't deserve to be where they are". How else can anybody interpret her reference to what she was before she became First Lady and also to what Charamba was, many years back, before he became Nathaniel Manheru and the presidential spokesperson?

While Grace Mugabe holds a junior political position by virtue of being chairperson of the women's league, the fact remains that she does not hold any cabinet or government position. If the truth be told, George Charamba understands the workings of government way better than Grace Mugabe can ever imagine. Of course, this is not to say Charamba is a good man, he is a political moron from the old school who invariably confuses pleonasm and prolixity with intelligence.

For threatening ministers and demonstrating levels of insubordination never seen before, Charamba deserved to be dressed down. However, the person who dressed him down is one who is least qualified to do so. As secretary for information, George Charamba is a senior civil servant who, in a functional democracy, would have been fired many years ago for dabbling in politics (and so would some generals for the same reason).

In a typical democracy, Grace Mugabe would have been silenced by now for she is now behaving like a rabid dog rather than a first lady. She behaves as if she is the sole architect of the hierarchy in the government of Zimbabwe, the only one who knows who is senior to who, who should report to who and who should not say what. What nonsense!

Sally Mugabe, our revered First Lady had African values. She knew her bounds. She was always a positive influence on Mugabe and in our society. If anything, Zimbabwe would probably not be in this mess if she was still alive. Marujata has lived up to her name! She has divided the family and set brother against brother, sister against sister. She does not give a toss about the damage she is causing as long as she and her immediate family members have unfettered access to unlimited privileges which they dangerously confuse as a right in perpetuity.

Should we come to that curious point in time when it becomes a matter of survival pitting Grace Mugabe vs Emmerson Mnangagwa, only a fool would imagine that Grace will prevail. Grace is the real "chanana" not Joice Mujuru as we heard before. Beyond the presidential bedroom, Grace has no power at all, of her own. Everybody understands that. If she had any semblance of intelligence or decency, she would be spending most of her time packing her bags and planning her move to Dubai, Singapore or Hong Kong, probably for good. Continued next page...

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