By Staff Reporter
ALTHOUGH the adage that ‘in politics there are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests’ is fairly axiomatic, the curiously changing dynamic in the relationship between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his predecessor still raises a few eyebrows.
It was confirmed Tuesday that the Zanu PF leader directed government to hire a plane to fly former first lady Grace Mugabe home from Singapore following the passing of her mother in Harare last week.
Grace, reportedly unwell herself, had been in the southeast Asian country for treatment while husband Robert, now 95, was also said to be poorly at their Blue Roof private home in the capital.
Jealousy Mawarire, spokesperson for the pro-Mugabe National Patriotic Front (NPF) opposition party, commended Mnangagwa for assisting his one-time deadly rival.
“I want to thank President Mnangagwa and his Presidium for facilitating for the travel of former First Lady Dr Mugabe back home for the funeral of Ambuya Marufu,” Mawarire said on Twitter.
“Such a gesture is very much invaluable and much appreciated. May the lord keep you, lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Ahead of the July 30 elections, Mnangagwa and the Mugabes – wife Grace in particular – had been deadly rivals, often trading counter accusations of assassination attempts.
Even so, Mnangagwa invited the Mugabes to his inauguration but their health troubles forced them to bail out.
Instead, daughter Bona represented her parents in a surprise gesture cheered by the whole stadium.
Again, after Grace’s mother passed on last week, Mnangagwa promptly issued a condolence statement and, it has turned out, facilitated the former first lady’s return home from Singapore.
Kuraone Chihwayi of the opposition MDC party said love-in between Grace and Mnangagwa proved the hypocrisy of Zimbabwe’s rulers.
“This shows the kind of people at the helm of the country,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is currently in the hands of hypocrites with bad habit of pretending to be good drivers. Mnangagwa is a leopard in the sheep’s skin.”
For MDC-T spokesman Linda Masarira, Mnangagwa’s gesture shows that he has a “forgiving heart”.
“After hat the humiliation he (Mnangagwa) went through when he was belittled by the former First Lady last year, it clearly shows that he has a forgiving heart and is committed to build, unity and tolerance in our diversity,” Masarira told NewZimbabwe.com.
“No one is perfect at the end of the day. To forgive is divine and, personally, I think ED has reached his Damascene moment.
“In the same light I implore all dissenting voices to find it within themselves to forgive and push for truth, justice and reconciliation.
“Together we can build Zimbabwe with love, unity and tolerance.”
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme added; “He (Mnangagwa) is still keeping to his soft as wool claim after what Grace did to him last year and Mugabe’s endorsement of Chamisa.
“It’s also a clear sign that politics is politics, and people must not take personality and material-based politics seriously as ordinary voters and supporters die for in political violence.
“The question to many should be – will Mnangagwa do the same for you and me if our mothers pass-on while seeking medical help abroad.
“If the answer is no, then stop supporting politicians who don’t focus on issues but materials and individuals.”