Has President Mugabe already annointed his controversial wife, First Lady Grace, as Zimbabwe’s next leader?

It now appears so!

The 93-year-old appears to have anointed his wife, Grace Mugabe, as his possible successor after describing her as “fireworks” and “well-seasoned now” to withstand the political heat within and outside the ruling Zanu PF party circles.

In a wide-ranging pre-recorded interview with State television ahead of his 93rd birthday yesterday, Mugabe said Grace, who is the Zanu PF women’s league boss, had now mastered the art of absorbing political pressure and criticism, adding she was “very much accepted by the people”.

“The criticism I get is from the opposition. From the party (Zanu PF), well, there have been a few criticisms from (people like war veterans’ leader Christopher) Mutsvangwa and so on and so forth that you know. I saw something quite different in her,” he said.

“They thought she was an ambitious woman, who would want to work herself into a position of power.”

Mugabe said in the past party members implored leaders not to disallow their wives from seeking political positions in the party, saying “we want their wives to lead us”.

“But what we get nowadays, from some quarters, is that leaders’ wives must not participate in politics, why not?”

The President, who in the same interview all but ruled out his deputies from succeeding him, saying there was no one acceptable to take over from him, changed tack, insisting Grace was suitable and had been accepted.

“She is very acceptable, very much accepted by the people. I thought you saw her on television today (Friday) … it’s fireworks, isn’t it?” he said, before breaking into mirth.

“She’s well-seasoned now, she’s a very strong character.”

Grace, who last week resumed her rallies, has declared that none among the current crop of Zanu PF bigwigs is qualified to succeed her husband, which Mugabe seemed to endorse in the interview.

Meanwhile, Team Mnangagwa is up in arms over Mugabe’s succession plan.

A key supporter, Godfrey Tsenengamu, has already been arrested after he publicly condemned Grace and her husband for their failure to understand that their family is not a factor in the future of Zimbabwe.