FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa has said that he “feels sorry” for “principled” ex-president Robert Mugabe, as his wife Grace took advantage of his old age.
Mugabe, 94, stepped down from power following a military intervention “targeting criminals around him” in November.
Reflecting on his unceremonious demotion by Mugabe through a mini cabinet reshuffle in October last year, Chinamasa said that he learnt about the cabinet reshuffle through social media, “as he was in Washington for a crucial government meeting then”.
Chinamasa said that Grace was moving to seize control of government for her Generation 40 faction of the ruling Zanu-PF, as she plotted to succeed her ageing husband.
“I feel sorry for him (Mugabe). He had been a man of principle, but what happened since his wife came into the limelight clearly made him unrecognisable, the wife took advantage of his age. Clearly the path that had been charted by the former first lady and her colleagues was leading to catastrophe for the country,” Chinamasa was quoted as saying.
Chinamasa said this four months after President Emmerson Mnangagwa made similar remarks.
Soon after he took over as president of the southern African country, Mnangagwa said that those around Mugabe had taken advantage of his advanced years to usurp some of his powers.
Mnangagwa maintained that Mugabe “made no mistakes while he was in power”.
“We were having persons (other than the president) who were making executive decisions, which is against the constitution of the country,” Mnangagwa said.