First Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday joined war veterans in making a declaration that her husband, President Robert Mugabe, would be elected into office even in a wheelchair because he has unparalleled wisdom to lead the country.
by Xolisani Ncube/Moses Matenga
The First Lady said many had tried to remove the aged leader, almost 92 and in power since 1980, but had failed because he was anointed and would die in office.
“We must thank God that we have a leader like VaMugabe. He is a strong man and has a vision for his people. That is a leader we want. Leadership is not forced on people. If you are a leader, they will love you,” she said.
Grace said Mugabe had lived long because Zimbabweans needed his wisdom, and that all African countries yearned to have a leader like him, referring to outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton’s remark that Mugabe was a lion of Africa.
Meanwhile, the First Lady yesterday moved to appease journalists by promising to give them food handouts so they could stop writing negative things about her. Professing love for them, she said those who wrote negatively about her were “probably doing so out of hunger”.
“Journalists from Daily News, NewsDay, (The Zimbabwe) Independent, you are all my children and I like you. I know you can’t do without me. I’m back! If you hear them (journalists) making noise, you know they are hungry. They want food so they can write stories. I have brought rice for you!” she said.
Officials in the President’s Office took down the names of all the journalists covering the rally so that they could receive the food handouts from the First Lady.
As has become the norm, informal traders at the populous Mupedzanhamo, Siya So and Mbare Musika markets were temporarily forced to close shop and marched to Grace’s rally, bringing unfamiliar calm to the usually vibrant and boisterous community.
Small shops around Shawasha flats, close to where Grace was making her address, were also closed, while businesses near Magaba faced the same fate.
Even cobblers at the Magaba flyover and fruit and vegetable traders at the Mbare market also temporarily closed shop.
However, Grace tried to downplay the closure of markets and in her speech, thanked the crowd for coming “despite not being forced” to do so through bussing of people.
“As early as 6am, the local commissars were knocking on our doors and politely asking us to attend the rally,” a resident at one of the flats said.