PEOPLE from Masvingo and opposition political parties have urged First Lady Grace Mugabe to “behave like a President’s wife” and emulate the humility of the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s widow, Maud, who died on Tuesday.
By Tatenda Chitagu
They described Maud as a down-to-earth woman, who lived at a modest house in Gutu Mpandawana growth point.
Referred to as “the mother of Masvingo province”, Maud rarely hogged the limelight and shied from the media.
“Maud fits into the class of humble African wives, who guide their husbands well,” a Masvingo resident, who preferred anonymity, said in a survey conducted yesterday. “She is in stark contrast to Grace, who takes every opportunity to ruffle feathers and scold grown-up men in public.”
Another resident said Grace “should take a leaf from Maud”.
National People’s Party spokesperson Jefrreyson Chitando said Maud knew her boundaries.
“She was a very humble mother. Although she was the wife of the Vice-President, she lived a very simple rural life,” he said.
“She spent most of her time in the rural Zvavahera area in Gutu. She left the political life to her husband, while she concentrated on giving her children proper parental care.
“This is different from the First Lady, whom we see trying to discipline civil servants at rallies.
“Maud taught her children the values of sharing, hard work, honesty, trust and love.
“Dr Mzee’s (Muzenda) children, unlike other high-profile politicians’ children, never hogged the limelight for the wrong reasons.”
MDC-T vice-president Nelson Chamisa, who comes from the same province as the Muzenda family, though steered clear of comparing Maud to Grace, described her as “a true heroine”.
Zanu PF seemed to concur on her motherly role.
Information minister Chris Mushohwe said Maud “was a real mother, who knows how to raise children”, while President Robert Mugabe described her as “an epitome of African motherhood that stands tall as a symbol of the triumph of motherly femininity against African colonialism”.
The advice to Grace came after she was accused of assaulting a 20-year-old South African model, Gabriella Engels, in that country 12 days ago, before she was granted diplomatic immunity and escaped the charges.
Before the dust had settled, Grace reportedly intensified her bid to evict Arnold Farm villagers to pave way for the expansion of her business empire in Mazowe, with Zanu PF youth league members allegedly destroying the villagers’ makeshift shelters to force them out of the property on Wednesday.
Maud, who was 88, died at a private hospital in Harare on Tuesday after a long illness.
She was declared a national heroine yesterday and will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre tomorrow.