Grace showcases her power at 50

HARARE - The rising power and influence of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial wife, Grace, has been on full public display this week — with politicians, business people and service chiefs among the noteworthy bigwigs who have gone into a bootlicking frenzy as the First Lady celebrates her 50th birthday.

Among the range of fawning messages these prominent people have placed in the media — both electronic and print, seemingly with the sole intention to prove their undying love and loyalty to “Dr Amai”, as the birthday girl is affectionately known to her admirers — are the hilarious and plain ridiculous.

In his message, embattled police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri said he cherished Grace’s “fearless and astute leadership qualities which continue to inspire and guide” the police force.

Describing her further as a paragon of virtue, Chihuri said in his advert, “your excellency, you are a distinguished philanthropist, mother of the nation, virtuous and visionary leader of unquestionable integrity. Certainly your unyielding commitment to the welfare of women and children can never be underestimated”.

Chihuri also acclaimed Grace for her alleged commitment to the welfare of women and children, which he described as unyielding — and further extolling her “dedication to the economic empowerment of women and children in the nation’s pursuit for economic empowerment”.

Not to be outdone, the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services commissioner-general, Paradzai Zimondi, exalted the First Lady for setting up an orphanage and school in Mazowe to “alleviate the pain and suffering of the less privileged”.

“Your orphanage in Mazowe has brought relief to the young children whose lives would have been unbearable had it not been for your motherly love which pushed you to provide decent accommodation and food for them,” he said.

Ironically, critics point out that the same school, that supposedly targets the underprivileged, charges about $3 000 per term per student — making it one of the most expensive schools in the country.

The ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services led by Supa Mandiwanzira also joined the comic show, and clearly utilised the minister’s well-known journalistic skills.

It not only described her as “incorruptible”, but also as an epitome of envy and a model upon which Zimbabweans have nurtured their being.

“An advocate of transparency and good corporate governance, Dr Amai’s philanthropies of unparalleled virtue and her steadfastness in mainstreaming economic empowerment policies for the youth and women resonates well …with ZimAsset.

“May every year of your life ahead be a fortress of greater wisdom, astuteness, hope and light that steers the country Zimbabwe into ubiquitous economic prosperity,” Mandiwanzira’s ministry said.

Virtually all State institutions and parastatals fell over each other to brown-nose her, flighting adverts in newspapers and on ZTV on the occasion of her birthday.

Great Zimbabwe University, the University of Zimbabwe, NetOne and TelOne have been among a host of cash-strapped institutions that have somehow found the resources to shower Grace with praise.

“The university admires your tremendous skills of intellectual intelligence, spiritual intelligence and emotional intelligence including empathy, compassion, love and grace,” said University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Levy Nyagura, whose institution bestowed Grace with a doctorate degree last year, amid much controversy.

From the office of Mugabe himself, came an epistle describing Grace’s life as one wholly-given to acts of benevolence and outstanding commitment to the welfare of the downtrodden and marginalised.

It depicted the First Lady as an infallible mother of the nation who never put a foot wrong.

“Over the years, the First Lady has remained a firm pillar of strength to His Excellency the President as he discharges his weighty responsibility of leading our nation and a towering mother figure to the whole nation,” reads the message from chief secretary to Mugabe, Misheck Sibanda.

In the meantime, Grace’s much-talked about birthday Fundraising Dinner Dance — to be attended by most of Zimbabwe’s well-heeled and who’s who of politics and business — will be held tomorrow.

And for the privilege of attending the 50th birthday dinner date with her, the thousands of invitees will each cough up a whopping $2 000 for a seat.

Known for her expensive penchant for glitz and glamour, the former typist in Mugabe’s office — who had her first child, Bona, with the nonagenarian while his late first wife, Sally, was bedridden with kidney problems — has often hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons.

Grace has often been heavily criticised for allegedly going on expensive overseas shopping sprees. It was claimed in 2003 that she had spent an astonishing $120 000 during one such trip to the French capital Paris.

Social and political analysts earlier this week described Grace’s penchant for the finer things in life, in a country where the majority of people cannot afford a decent meal and live well below the poverty datum line, as embarrassing and “a disgrace” — the latter a play on her name.

“It appears that she is not sensitive to the social welfare and economic difficulties of Zimbabweans. She is a first lady and in the upper echelons of a public organisation, Zanu PF, hence her actions are always subject to public scrutiny,” said University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure.

He added that as such, “she should be advised to take a low profile in her celebrations. I am aware of instances were such celebrations have been suspended”.

Human rights activist Dewa Mavhinga described the lavish birthday bash as “an insult to the suffering millions in Zimbabwe who are wallowing in poverty”.

“It also shows just how out of touch with reality the ruling elite have become and this does not augur well for a bright future for the country. To think that the First Lady is being touted as a possible successor to President Mugabe crushes all hope for a better future for all.

“It means after Mugabe we are likely to have more of the same mediocre and insensitive leadership that fails to put people first,” Mavhinga said.

Academic Ibbo Mandaza blamed Mugabe for the birthday extravagance, saying it started with the nonagenarian spoiling himself courtesy of the 21st February Movement earlier this year.

Like Mavhinga, Mandaza also observed that Grace’s affinity for luxury showed how the ruling elite were oblivious to what their subjects were going through — adding that it was worrisome that the country had leaders who behaved “as if they come from another planet”.

“Unfortunately, that is the culture of our ruling class, to enjoy themselves oblivious of the imminent future,” added Mandaza.

However, the chairperson of the committee organising Grace’s bash, Rodney Dangarembizi, defended the event, saying it was meant to raise funds for charity.

“I cannot tell you how many guests we are expecting for security reasons, but the response has been quite good. Let me clarify that of what is generated, every cent will go to charities, not hosting the event. She wants to fundraise for blankets and whatever the charities listed need,” he said.

Insiders said that about 2 000 people would attend the party — raising millions of dollars in individual, group and corporate “donations”.

But the director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, Pedzisai Ruhanya, dismissed as “hogwash” Dangarembizi’s claims — arguing that the profligacy being displayed by the First Family was “characteristic of Grace”.

“What she (Grace) is doing contradicts her public posturing that depicts her as a philanthropist. We know she has primitively accumulated wealth through properties such as Gracelands.

“All the humanitarian talk is garbage because she is not like that. She is not humble, she is not hard working and she is controversial in everything including her contested academic qualifications.

“Who does not know how she evicted people in Mazowe? Who do not know that she took away Mugabe from Sally?” Ruhanya said.

He also blasted Grace for pretending to be well-mannered against the background of her public humiliation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru whom she accused of plotting to kill Mugabe.

“Can Grace compare herself to Mujuru in terms of their contribution to the welfare of Zimbabweans? Both politically and romantically there is nothing humble about Grace.

“Look at how she treated Mujuru. You do not stamp on innocent people’s toes and then claim to be humble.

“That is not what a humble person does,” Ruhanya said.

Comments (9)

these same idiots cant even bail the national footbal team all they know is to bootlick till they go to heaven, what a shame

dhuura - 24 July 2015

u r right dhuura even when bob went to equetorial guinea he could have carried the senoir woman teams but allas all they do is to fill the plane with their own kith and thin so that they get those allowances kkkkkkkkk

chikwenha - 24 July 2015

career or

lovemore - 24 July 2015

haiwawo zvichapera zvese izvi

misty - 24 July 2015

What a shame, Cry Zimbabwe Cry. Have we stoop this low. Are these Zanu pf maggots so sucked up with self enrichment that they SEE grace as a mother to HER grandparents?

Christ In Me - 24 July 2015


Abraham - 24 July 2015

Zanu pf yakaoma. No one saw the lyrics "zimuroyi zimbuya repa Dotito" coming in our lifetime ! Its a matter of a small time before another HIT lyric is released. It will require a dozen of archaeologists to dug up Cde Stop it from the grave she is burying herself in.

X-MAN IV - 24 July 2015

ini ndinonzi grace nhasi ndir kufara pasana perudo... with such folly, rwavhi Mugabe is taking Zim with to the grave. the fortunate part is that for a country, there is always life after death!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 25 July 2015

Grace and her man, you grew up in destitute families with no chance of ever throwing birthday parties. Maingozwionera panext door. Isu vamwe maparents edu worked very hard and afforded their children birthday parties so that when we become adults we see nothing new in it to the extent of coercing other people to part with their money for a personal event. Kukurira munhamo ndiko kwakaita kuti at 50 you want everybody to see aah you can also celebrate your birthday. Funny how some people behave like kids at twilight age. Look at the way she goes shopping. Everything she sees in shops in foreign countries she buys. Eeh nokuti mari yamatiro maZimbo irikuuyakwauri nebhandi. You have not the slightest idea of the value of money because in your childhood you never had it. Chimurume chacho chakakura chichichengetwa nekudzidziswa nemari dzemachurch. Chinofunga kuti iwo machurch mari anoita zwokutanha pamiti semashizha. No idea at all how other people who donate the money sweat for it. Chava president chikavona kautsi kemavagrants achigocha chibage muna mukuvisi in the direrction of the industrial sites chinobvachati maindustries ari kumaker mari vakomana. Ndiwo matofo arikuti arikurunner nyika yedu aya. Zwanzi Ngwena na Mphoko vanotora manotes edevelopment kubva kwandiri. Iwe Grace zwimwe uti unosvoma - uyazisomela.

Bobby Sadza reZwiyo - 25 July 2015

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