There appears to be a lot more in common between former Zimbabwean First Lady, Grace Mugabe, and Nigeria’s present First Lady, Aisha Buhari, than immediately meets the eye. I don’t even know why few people have connected the dots before now, seeing as they are both almost always in the eye of a media storm.
For one, they are both breathtakingly beautiful although I favour Grace Mugabe. My gosh, Grace Mugabe is beautiful! If I had ever been Mugabe’s deputy, I may have preferred to inherit her rather than the Presidency where anything to befall my boss. I hope I am not giving Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa any ideas.
But I digress, and I bet your pardon. I am, after all, a man, and women like Grace Mugabe naturally tend to have this type of effect on our reasoning faculties if truth were to be told.
But beyond their ravishing beauty, both Grace and Aisha married men that were vastly older than them and this more or less made them trophy wives.
Grace Mugabe is just 52 while her husband, Robert Mugabe is 93. The age gulf between them is 41 years.
When they got married 21 years ago in 1996, Grace Mugabe was 31 and Robert Mugabe was 72 years old.
What about Aisha?
The Nigerian First Lady is just 46 years old, meanwhile her husband, President Muhammadu Buhari will be 75 (football age? If you ask me, na who I go ask?) in less than a month.
The age gulf between them is nearly 30 years.
Aisha Buhari was just 18 at the time President Buhari married her in 1989 when he was 47 years old.
Another similarity is that at the initial rise to power of both their husbands, both men were married to different women.
Robert Mugabe was married to Sally Hayfron in 1980 when he first emerged as Zimbabwe’s first Prime Minister (the nation used to be known as Rhodesia, being arrogantly names after Cecil Rhodes).
Major General Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was), was married to Safinatu Yusuf when he first became Nigeria’s military head of state in 1983.
But the similarities between Grace and Aisha does not end in their marriage and who and when they married.
You see, although both Grace and Aisha are both ostensibly not elected or appointed government officials, they both wielded a lot of influence on their respective husbands’ government.
In fact, one of the charges that ZANU PF leveled against Robert Mugabe and for which it demanded his resignation or impeachment, is the charge of allowing his wife “to usurp constitutional power.”
In essence, Mugabe’s Slay Queen wife led to his downfall.
Aisha Buhari may not have led to her husband’s downfall, but that she is also a Slay Queen is not in doubt. In fact, in her own case, she is officially a beautician having studied it professionally, and owns a chain of beauty spas. She is also the author of ‘Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists’.
That she has been involved in government affairs is not in doubt after she gave her warning to her husband saying that:
“I have decided as his wife, that if things continue like this up to 2019, I will not go out and campaign again and ask any woman to vote like I did before. I will never do it again”
In essence, both Aisha and Grace wielded and still wield powers (in the case of Aisha) and influence that they were not given by any constitution or legitimate authority.
This much was clear in the fact that Aisha Buhari was able to get the National Assembly to conduct a hearing on the state of the State House clinic after she publicly berated the Chief Medical Director of the clinic, Dr. Hussain Munir, over whom she has no constitutional or official authority.
In 2016, Grace Mugabe publicly warned ZANU PF and government officials about their conduct and threatened to have them dealt with and in the same year, Aisha Buhari publicly warned a popularly elected governor and called him an “unchained mad dog”.
But to me, the similarities between the two women reached its crescendo this past Wednesday (November 22, 2017).
On that day, the Nigerian Government released a statement saying that its most important meeting, the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting (whose official Constitutional name is Executive Council of the Federation meeting), was moved from its normal location (the Council Chambers) to Aisha Buhari’s conference room due to unidentified “technical challenges”.
I am quite familiar with Aso Rock’s facilities having started working there at the age of 29 as an aide in the then Vice President’s office in 2003.
The Vice President also has a conference room which I have been in. If the Federal Executive Council meeting had to be shifted from its normal venue, why not shift it to the Vice President’s Conference Room if ‘technical challenges’ is really the reason?
First rat now technical challenges. What next? Does Nigeria now have a budding Grace Mugabe on our hands?
President Muhammadu Buhari once dismissed his wife’s foray into politics by saying “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.”
The President never told us that power also belongs in his wife’s conference room, but apparently it does since the last FEC held there.
Africans once thought that ex President Mugabe and his wife Grace played the ultimate bedroom politics, but never was it reported in Zimbabwe that meetings were officially moved from their regular locations to Grace Mugabe’s office.
Maybe it was Grace Mugabe herself who was the learner despite her longer years as First Lady. Perhaps if she had been more subtle and more persuasive in “the other room”, she and her husband would have still been in power.
You never even know, perhaps important meetings of state would have been shifted to her own office leaving no one in any doubt as to who is really in charge!
Well the cabal seem to have defeated Grace Mugabe in Zimbabwe, but we are yet to see who will come out on top in the infighting amongst the Nigerian cabal.
What we do know is that there is no love lost between major personalities in the cabal abs Aisha Buhari, who they nicknamed ‘suicide bomber’.
If Wednesday shifting of the venue of the Executive Council of the Federation meeting is anything to go by, the pendulum of power may have shifted in Aisha’s favour.
Who knows? Maybe her next book would be titled ‘Essentials of Power Politics: A Complete Guide for Winning Other Room Politics’.
I know at least one person in Zimbabwe who badly needs such s book.
Ladies, don’t look down on your man because he could not spend a fortune on an engagement or wedding ring. The price of the ring does not determine the value of the love it represents. Guys, the wife you marry, determines the life you carry. It is hard for a man to grow beyond the wife he marries because her MOOD affects you. Her FOOD affects you. And finally, her GOOD also affects you #RenosNuggets
Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies