If Grace Mugabe succeeds her 93-year-old husband, Robert, and becomes the next president of Zimbabwe, she'll lead that impoverished nation into new decades of despair.

We can say this confidently, because 52-year-old Grace seems to want the top job, and has a remarkable life story of venality and violence. Consider a few highlights.

Earlier this year, Grace whipped a South African model with an electrical cable. Her reason for doing so? The model was in the company of her sons. She only escaped prosecution under diplomatic immunity laws.

Over the years, as Zimbabwe's people have struggled with repeating cycles of hyperinflation, she has stolen millions from Zimbabwe's central bank and plundered various diamond mines. Grace, or "Gucci Grace", as she has been nicknamed, then blows her ill-gained money on high fashion and extravagant living. Until she was banned from traveling in the European Union, Grace would fly off to Paris and enjoy the pleasures of top hotels. These days she vacations in Dubai and Hong Kong, where the rules on corruption are simpler: flaunt it.

Finally, like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Zimbabwe's first lady has a long history of using her bodyguards as attack dogs against peaceful protesters and journalists.

Why does all this matter?

Well, because with her husband aging rapidly, and internal fights breaking out in his Zanu-PF political party, Mugabe may soon make her leap for the presidency. And if that happens, Zimbabwe's 16.2 million people can look forward to new decades of suffering and corruption.