Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R-l) wife Grace and Daughter Bona
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R-l) wife Grace and Daughter BonaReuters File

In the last few months, there has been an increasing apprehension in Zimbabwe that President Robert Mugabe is 'grooming' his 24-year-old daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore, to succeed him as the next President of the country.

There are strong speculations that the 91-year-old President, who is in poor health, is planning to turn his dictatorial rule over the country into a monarchy - by getting his daughter to succeed him. 

The rumours that the Zimbabwe President is planning to name his daughter as his successor intensified last week after photographs from Mugabe's official visit to Japan emerged online.

The inclusion of Bona during the government trip to Japan, where she reportedly sat next to President Mugabe during an official meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also severely criticised by local political leaders.

Many pointed out that Bona has a Masters degree in banking and finance, but has never held a political post.

The ruling-party officials, however, have claimed that since Mugabe's embarrassing fall at Harare International Airport, the President does not want to rely on his security staff and has instead insisted on including family members.

Back in December, the President had elevated his 49-year old wife, Grace Mugabe, as the head of the ruling ZANU-PF party where she led a vicious campaign to remove former vice-president Joice Mujuru from office. However, recent reports claim that Grace too has not been keeping well and has been taking regular trips to Singapore for medical treatment.

Analyst Takura Zhangazha told Zim24 News that: "The appearance of the President's daughter at a meeting that her father was conducting with the Japanese PM understandably raises eyebrows... because issues of success have been in vogue."

Meanwhile, Obert Gutu, spokesperson for the opposition MDC party, told Nehanda Radio that Bona's inclusion showed "that the state has been virtually privatised by the Mugabe dynasty."

"There's absolutely no justification why one Bona Mugabe-Chikore should have been included as part of the official government delegation to Japan. Last time I checked, Bona is not a government official," Gutu said. "Why, therefore, should State funds be utilised to fund her jamboree to Japan?"

Bona Mugabe is first child that he had with his second wife Grace. Bona attended the Dominican Convent School in Harare and later enrolled under an alias at the City University of Hong Kong, where she graduated with an Honours Degree in Accountancy and Administration in 2011.

She also has a Master's Degree in banking and finance from the Management Development Institute of Singapore.

Last year, Bona married Simba Chikore in a lavish $5 million ceremony, which took place at President Mugabe's $14.95 million private residence in Harare.