First Lady Grace Mugabe has threatened to spill blood in defence of her extensive Mazowe farm which she says she “personally” grabbed at the height of the land reform programme.
Mugabe told hundreds of ruling party supporters at the Zanu PF Gweru Convention Centre on Monday that she personally seized the farm from its owners to show people that the land reform exercise was not child’s play.
“Nobody will remove me from the farm which I took. Blood will be spilt if anyone attempts to remove me from that farm . . . I took that farm personally because even after I told ministers and government officials that I wanted a farm, they did not allocate me land and instead told me they thought I was joking,” she said.
The First Family also owns Iron Mask Estate previously owned by farmers John and Eva Matthews.
“I asked Baba (President Robert Mugabe): ‘What will people think about this land reform if they see us not leading from the front?’ I told him if you want to eat a dog, eat a very big dog which has a strong odour so that when people pass through they acknowledge that indeed a dog was eaten,” she said.
Mugabe also urged women to hold on to land even if they do not use it.
“Women, we need land, so let us take it. Even if we don’t farm on the land, that is not a problem as long as you have it and it’s yours,” she said.
“I have it and I am a good farmer who did not even benefit from the farm mechanisation programme, I would buy my implements one by one from my farming proceeds.”
Meanwhile, Grace’s meeting with church leaders at her Mazowe Orphanage yesterday turned into a bootlicking contest when church leaders competed to outdo each other in pampering her with praises and even pronouncing a prophetic declaration of success in her budding political career.
Listen to her speech here:
The church leaders, drawn from different denominations across the country, assured Grace of massive support and urged her not to be afraid in taking up her newly-launched political career. They even appealed to her to become their patron and presented several grievances, among them farms for carrying out various church activities.
Grace promised to take their concerns to her husband, President Mugabe.
However, her pledge was not without strings as she pleaded with the men of the cloth to appeal to their congregants to join Zanu PF and buy membership cards as a show of their unwavering support to the First Family.
“I am also requesting you to purchase Zanu PF membership cards so that the party’s membership grows and you will say, we came and we conquered,” Grace said.
First to open the floor was Zion Christian Church leader, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, who was sitting at the front table alongside Grace.
Mutendi said Grace had succeeded in keeping orphans instead of building personal mansions in every province of the country.
Zimbabwe National Pastors’ Fraternal (ZNPF) for Bulawayo Pastor Munyaradzi Pundo said the church was behind Grace in all her endeavours.
“Don’t be afraid to enter politics, God is with you. Don’t be afraid that you are young in politics, you have the support of the church, which we call the Air Force of Zimbabwe,” Pundo said.
“You have a veteran leader who stood for the people; you have a lot of strength to draw from your husband. You will be the queen of the world if you address four things: the plight of orphans, which you are already doing, the widows, the elderly and the pastors.”
ZNPF co-ordinator for Mashonaland Central Pastor Andrew Gunha also said churches were behind Grace.
“As churches, we rally and must rally behind you,” Gunha said.
“For a home to stand, it needs a woman, and we say, for a country to stand, it needs a woman. We would like to thank you for supporting President Mugabe.”
Mashonaland West co-ordinator Pastor Goodwell Khosa said the invitation to Mazowe marked the beginning of collaboration between government and the church. Together with the Mashonaland East co-ordinator Pastor Cyde Tsiga, Khosa praised Grace for achieving a doctorate degree.
‘We would like to congratulate you for your devotion to Zimbabwe. We would also like to congratulate you for your appointment to lead the (Zanu PF) Women’s League in your party and achieving a doctorate degree, which is a milestone in your career.”
Rev Chanakira of Harare said: “Tell Baba [President Mugabe] that we will rise and fall with you. We thank him for promoting peace in the country. To you, you have shown that you are a mother of all mothers by keeping children who have been dumped by other human beings.”
Responding to the praises, Grace said she had been placed in “that status by God for a purpose”. She thanked churches for the support and assured them she would tell Mugabe of their requests which included farming and residential land, empowerment projects and exemption from paying taxes, among others.
“Mugabe is the perfect gift we had from God. I am blessed to be beside this man. He was bred by people who fear God,” Grace said.
The First Lady said she decided to embark on money-generating projects as a “fall-back position” in the event that “things change”.
Grace also castigated some churches milking people of their hard-earned cash in order to enrich their leaders, warning such wealth would disappear.
“Never covert such wealth, what is yours, you sweat for,” Grace said.
The First Lady, who has already hit the road running since she was nominated to lead the Zanu PF Women’s League in July, has hosted several key stakeholders at the orphanage as she launched her political career.
She has in the last few days also held campaign rallies in Chinhoyi and Gweru, and is today expected to stretch her campaign trail to Harare. On Friday, she is expected to tour Mutare and Hwange.
At the City Sports Centre in Harare today she is expected to continue her attacks on the party’s provincial leadership which she has in the past described as “inept” and opposed to her political rise.
She has often publicly attacked the Amos Midzi-led Harare executive, accusing it of decampaigning her and failing to wrest the city from the opposition MDC-T.
Zanu PF sources told NewsDay yesterday that the provincial leadership was aware of Grace’s push to discredit it and eventually force its dismissal.
Sources within the party said the First Lady, as a mother figure, should work towards uniting the party instead of resorting to name-calling, threats and attacks.
“We can only do much better if we are united and peaceful, but for her to now come and say she wants people fired is not in the spirit of togetherness,” said a source.