PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s increasingly belligerent wife and First Lady Grace has wadded into the debate around the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing the Hague based tribunal of bias against African leaders.
Mugabe who has led Zimbabwe with an iron fist for the better part of three and half decades, has been identified as a candidate for an investigation and possible prosecution by the ICC for alleged human rights abuses during his blood-spattered rule.
Zimbabwe’s only leader since majority rule from Britain 35 years ago has presided over the Gukurahundi genocide which killed over 20 000 civilians in the western parts of the country as well as other intermittent murders and disappearances especially during elections as he sought to retain power by hook or crook.
But Grace, probably fearing the worst for his 91-year-old husband now in the twilight of his political career amid increased internal struggles to succeed him, this week inadvertently seemed to indicate the former guerrilla leader is coming to the end of his rule gushing the “Godsend and will rule until he is 92”.
Mugabe turns 92 in February next year and, as age catches up, has become increasingly erratic.
“President Mugabe is a gift to Zimbabwe and will rule until he is 92. We don’t want people who impose leaders on us.
“The ICC targets African head of States only …Bush and Blair should also be judged by the ICC.
“We should not take the peace that is in the country for granted,” she told Zanu PF supporters during a rally in Mashonaland Central.
Mugabe’s wife has been identified as a possible successor amid reports she is locked in an acrimonious battle for power with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The ICC is shrouded in controversy as African leaders strongly believe that it is a western tool.
Liberia’s former warlord turned leader Charles Taylor was dragged screaming and kicking before the ICC while Sudanese strongman Omar al Bashir escaped arrest by a whisker after a visit to South Africa.
Bashir’s near miss triggered debate over the arrest of serving leaders under ICC statutes with South Africa’s ruling ANC threatening a pull-out.