Mugabe is a priest: Grace

HARARE - First Lady Grace Mugabe has sensationally claimed that her husband is a priest who is God’s special gift to Zimbabwe.

A revved up Grace, who has embarked on a whirlwind tour of the country’s 10 provinces to drum up support for her controversial entry into Zanu PF politics, told dozens of pastors at her Mazowe Children’s Home yesterday that she is married to a “chosen man of God.”

“You are amazed by the strength of the president, but I want to tell you that I am one of the wives of a pastor,” she said to “hallelujahs” and “praise God” choruses from clergymen.

Grace said her husband, who has been compared to the “biblical Moses” by his fawning praise singers, was an ardent believer in God.

“The president knows that he walks in the righteous path that pleases God,” she said. “He stands by the truth and I would like God to help me stand in righteousness so that when I stand before God, I will not be afraid because I will be saying the truth.”

Although Mugabe has presided over the country for the past 34 years and is blamed for the country’s past and present economic and human rights problems, Grace believes the 90-year old strongman was  God-sent.

“President Mugabe is the best gift we got from God,” she said. “He was raised by a God-fearing mother.

“The president is a very prayerful person.  He prays all the time for the nation. They (detractors) do not understand him because God makes it difficult to do so. When he stands before people, you can tell it is no longer the human Mugabe who is speaking.”

Mugabe, a Catholic who carries a rosary with him, has faced accusations of damaging the economy, rights abuses and electoral fraud by his critics.

He has long been an admirer of the Catholic Church. Born at Kutama, a Catholic mission station in British-ruled Southern Rhodesia, he attended Jesuit schools.

The Jesuits instilled a love of learning in Mugabe, who went on to earn seven degrees during the 14 years he spent in prison for anti-regime activities.

Meanwhile, Grace said she is now planning for the future in order to have a “fallback” position when the political winds change. With her husband at 90 and Zanu PF headed for probably its most important congress since formation in 1963, top Zanu PF officials are locked in a bitter contest to succeed the aging leader.

“The State House is a place where you can forget tomorrow,” she said.

“I could have sat down on my laurels doing my nails and having massages but I cannot do that. I want others to learn from me. I would have looked back but I said God, ‘I live with a visionary leader, impart the wisdom to me.’ He is a well of wisdom and I am blessed to have him.”

Pastors, reverends, bishops and their spouses heaped praises on Mugabe.

Among the clergyman present was Anglican church leader Chad Gandiya. They told the first lady about their economic woes and begged the first family for land, housing stands and other freebies.

Grace said that she would pass their pleas to the “president” but also asked a favour from the church.

“I am also going to make a request to all of you that if you are really serious, I am going to ensure that you support us by purchasing (Zanu PF) membership cards,” she said.

The church leaders also prayed and declared that whatever Grace wishes should be fulfilled by God.

They also complained about the staggering riches earned by some churchmen.

“You were telling me about how some churches are getting so rich. Do not worry about that kind of wealth because it diminishes so fast.

“When you see them getting a lot of money, do not lose focus, don’t covet such wealth, it is not coming from God. What is yours is what you sweat for,” she said.

Politicians, chiefs and now clergymen have flocked to Grace’s orphanage to lend their support to her. Grace told the pastors to pray for her husband ahead of his party’s potentially game changing congress. She also implored the pastors to pray for her as she bids for political office.