First ladies

Zimbabwe: Is Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia following in ‘Gucci Grace’ Mugabe’s footsteps?

By Farai Shawn Matiashe

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Posted on July 1, 2022 11:06

Before staging a military coup that ousted former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017, the military – and Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction of the ruling party – accused Grace Mugabe of taking over some government functions. With just less than five years after becoming Zimbabwe’s first lady, Auxillia appears to be following in Grace’s footsteps.

Charity events heavily funded by the state, control of state media and conferment of an honourary degree are some of the things that Auxillia and Grace appear to have in common.

Analysts and opposition leaders are complaining that Zimbabwe’s first lady is personally benefiting from her position, taking on roles that she should not and using state resources to boost her image in a time of economic crisis.

What role for a first lady?

In late May, Auxillia officially opened the African Elephant Conference, which was held in Hwange, ahead of the 2022 Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.

Even though Auxillia is a patron of environment, climate, tourism and hospitality industry causes, political analysts say that she took over a government function, as the conference was an inter-state meeting attended by ministers from 14 African countries.

“It is not clear the

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