THERE was drama in the Senate on Tuesday during the official opening of Parliament when opposition MDC-T Senators smuggled in placards and demonstrated against First Lady Grace Mugabe’s alleged violent behaviour in South Africa.
Grace last month nearly caused a diplomatic row between Harare and Pretoria after she allegedly assaulted a South African model, Gabriella Engels, with an electric cable at a Johannesburg hotel.
MDC-T Senators sang Hatidi zvemadisnyongoro (We don’t want nonsense) and held placards in demonstration inside the House as President Robert Mugabe was reading his speech. Some of the placards were inscribed “Go back to South Africa and face the full wrath of the law.”
Zanu PF Senators snatched the placards in an effort to drown the singing and stop the demonstrations, as their opposition counterparts continued with the protests.
Speaking to NewsDay, Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava said the opposition Senators were expressing their disapproval of Grace’s behaviour.
“Opposition Senators were expressing displeasure over the occasion where the wife of the President was involved in a fracas in South Africa and bemoaning that such an unfortunate incident should not have occurred because it embarrasses the nation,” he said.
“Their wish is to echo the issue of maintenance of dignity by Grace in her capacity as the First Lady.”
Midlands Senator Lillian Timveos said what Grace did to Engels was wrong.
“She should not have been given diplomatic immunity and should have faced the full wrath of the law. Being a First Lady of a country, she should have handled the issue better. It is wrong for her to come accompanying the President to open Parliament after she committed such acts as beating up a girl,” she said.
“We feel that she should be motherly and must be an example to all women in Zimbabwe that they cannot just beat up people. Why did she not beat up her own sons? She now claims the girl held a knife on her, but she should let the courts determine who is guilty.”
Timveos said Grace’s actions were an embarrassment to Zimbabwe, adding opposition legislators do not take the issue lightly.
“She is going to go down in history as a First Lady who did not act like a woman in a position of power,” Timveos said.