- Grace Mugabe speaks at political rally in Masvingo province
- Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold general elections in 2018
Grace Mugabe said her husband Robert Mugabe may choose her as his successor when the 91-year-old Zimbabwean president leader decides to leave office.
“I cannot be counted out,” Grace, 50, told a rally Friday in Masvingo province. “President Mugabe has the prerogative of choosing his successor.”
Her statement appeared to contradict remarks she made at a Nov. 20 political rally that she had no presidential ambitions. The southern African nation is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018.
Known by her critics as the “First Shopper” and “Gucci Grace,” for what they say is her extravagant lifestyle, Grace Mugabe has built support among a group of senior ruling party officials known as Generation-40 because most of them are in their 40s and played no role in Zimbabwe’s war for independence.
Her main adversary in a run for the top job is the vice president and deputy leader of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who previously served as state security and defense minister.
“We can’t afford to have a leader who isn’t popular or we will lose elections,” Grace said. “Mugabe is an old man at 91 and we’ll be carrying him in a wheelbarrow to address people because he is still the best person to lead the country.”