Grace’s bottled water an admission of failure


ORGANISERS of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rally in Harare on Thursday distributed water branded with the Zanu PF matriarch’s face.
On the face of it, this is an innocuous gesture connecting Grace with the people, but a deeper analysis of the move reveals an underlying condescending and out-of-touch attitude from the ruling party and the First Lady.

Residents of the suburb surely welcomed the bottled water, but after the clean water, what next?

It would be folly for Grace or anyone in Zanu PF to think they have done well by giving the residents bottled water, when after the rally, most had to return to drinking municipal water, which many often condemn as unclean.

Instead of the piecemeal solutions of giving people bottled water, Grace and her party should work on improving water supply to Mbare and other suburbs of Harare.

It is disconcerting that at a time Zimbabwe is preparing to host the International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (ICASA), delegates to the summit have already been warned against drinking tap water, as it may be unfit for human consumption, yet Grace and her supporters feel it is appropriate to concentrate on peripheral issues.

A common cliché is that we are majoring on minors and minoring on majors and we are afraid Grace and Zanu PF are excelling in this regard.

Residents of Mbare and other parts of the capital often go for days without water and the bottled water, instead of appeasing them, should be seen as an insult to discerning people.

After 35 years of self-rule, Zimbabwe should move away from the culture of handouts to demanding service delivery and the rallying call should be about potable tap water daily, rather than self-serving branded bottled water.

The irony is not lost on ordinary Zimbabweans that the reason questions are asked about the cleanliness of Harare water is because of her husband, President Robert Mugabe’s ruinous policies.


It is patently clear to anyone that Mbare has remained an urban backwater, as if stuck in some colonial time warp, because the Zanu PF government has not prioritised the country’s development and most of them are keen on dipping their hands in State coffers.

So Grace may have managed to hoodwink a few with the bottled water, but the majority of Zimbabweans should see through this empty gesture.

If Zanu PF and Mugabe had made sure Mbare received reliable and clean water supplies, then no one would have bothered to queue for the bottled water, in fact, there would have been no need for it.

Taking the branded water to Mbare might have at first seemed like a stroke of genius, but in reality, it was a subtle admission of failure by the party Grace represents.

We have no doubt that if Zimbabwe was properly governed, without the pervasive atmosphere of fear, Mbare residents would not have taken the water at the rally, but would have told Grace, in no uncertain terms, to “Stop it!”

It is at this point that we ask what the point of these rallies — which are broadcast live on State television — is.

Surely, Zanu PF should be concentrating on governing the country rather than have Grace travel the length and breadth of the country reiterating what everybody knows.


  1. To you Mr reporter surely you just love to criticise for the sake of criticism. If you have travelled around the world you would know that in most countries European and East Asia they dont drink tap water its for washing and bathing only. if you want water you buy those bottled water in 20L containers and a water dispensary. The second largest economy in the world China they have mineral water you dont drink tap water because its not safe to drink.
    so what could be relevant is the fact that this bottled water everywhere should be priced at 10cent bond coin so that at least everyone can access safe water.

      • The usual lazy response. It’s reality whether in Europe, Africa or Asia. Tap water is not always safe to drink hence the bottled water. Newsday’s focus here was misdirected.

  2. Newsday seems to be succeeding well in doing what it’s accusing Zanu PF and Grace of. Majoring in minors and minoring in majors. Too much news space has been wasted on Grace by media outlets like Newsday. When you look at Harare, the MDC has been running the local government since 2000. What have they done or even proposed to improve the city? Instead we have seen it deteriorate. It’s easy to blame it on Mugabe but it also shows laziness on the part of the media. Which policies of Mugabe have led to the MDC run City of Harare to deteriorate and what has the MDC council done about it?

  3. Apa Newsday mashaya apa its a hot day , and thats a good gesture from the first lady ..i actually would like the first lady of my country to be this gracious to be honest . i think she did well during this rally and during the mberengwa and the Mash east for that matter. Grace can be many things , but these last 3 rallies she was a proper First lady of the country. I was proud of her. No shouting , no hate speech , no divisiveness which is normally the theme of her previous rallies.


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