With the inauguration of Emmerson ‘ED’ Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s new president under way after 37 years of Robert Mugabe’s autocratic rule that brought the economy to its knees, Zimbabweans have a fair idea of where it all went wrong.
After revelations that former first lady Grace Mugabe usurped power from ministers and exercised executive powers not apportioned to her by the constitution, and mainly due to her husband’s “senility”, locals have identified Mrs Mnangagwa as a power broker who can ensure activities at State House don’t plunge the country into another crisis.
“Kubasa kwemurume hakuendwe unomudzingisa basa,” was the main thrust of the blunt advice. Loosely translated, Auxilia is reminded that the fewer times she shows up at the husband’s office, the lower the chances that he will get fired from his job as the president.
In a letter circulating on social media, she is told: “As you become the First Lady, please remember the following: Your husband is the President not you. Ministers, party members and the support services to the President are not your husband’s employees, they are govt employees and party employees.”
The cheeky letter carries on: “Your husband does not own Zimbabwe, he serves Zimbabwe. You are not mother to the nation, every Zimbabwean is born of a woman. Stay out of your husbands business. Retire from politics and further your family businesses. Do not be an economic hazard rather be enterprising and add value to the fiscus.”
Auxilia is also encouraged to “go for grooming lessons, dressing, etiquette and public speaking” and asked to encourage her “husband to drop the kuvukura [barking] mantra”, as Zimbabweans are not keen on going “from a crazy first lady to a crazy president”.
She received a request to advise Mnangagwa “not to occupy the presidency beyond ten years … politics is a game of succession”.
“Protect your husband. Banish his face from being worn by other men and women, that’s tantamount to being demigod, they will rise up against him one day,” the advice kept rolling.
Finally, she was reminded: “Presidency is not passed on to family members, it’s a monarch, so don’t expect to inherit from your husband. Respect the people and their views, for respect is earned.”
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