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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at State House in Harare, Nov. 19, 2017. Photo: AP

Since Robert Mugabe is a liberation icon, popular across Africa, his still-ruling ZANU-PF regime is trying to shift the blame for Zimbabwe’s ills from the recently deposed president to his wife, Grace. Former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa has represented his coup as an “intervention” against the “criminals” that surrounded Mugabe, and the impeachment charges against Mugabe included his failure to keep Grace and her associates under control, but no accusations of criminal behavior by him.

This political spin furthers a familiar contrast between the “wicked Grace” and the “Amai” (mother) narrative of Sally, Mugabe’s first wife, who was as popular as Grace is unpopular. According to ZANU-PF orthodoxy, Mugabe went off the rails only after Sally's death, so his loss of power can be attributed to Grace.

Ultimately, neither wife played much of a role in Mugabe's misgovernance of Zimbabwe, which began before Sally’s death. He was able to use Grace as a pawn because she posed less of a succession threat that any of the alternative candidates.

The bottom line: Mugabe’s tyranny was purely the product of his own ruthlessness and lust for control, and his removal from office the result of miscalculation and overreach.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

Capitol Police officer indicted for obstructing Jan. 6 investigation

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping hide evidence of a participant's involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: Officer Michael A. Riley, 50, is accused of telling the unidentified participant, referred to as "Person 1," in the Jan. 6 riot to delete posts from Facebook, which showed them in the Capitol during the attack.

7 hours ago - World

British MP dies after being stabbed while meeting constituents

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K., was fatally stabbed Friday while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England, according to AP.

The big picture: Police said a man, 25, was arrested for the stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea and is being held on suspicion of murder. A knife was also recovered at the scene, authorities said.