The Sunday News
FIRST Lady Dr Grace Mugabe’s strong sense of fashion and style has never been a subject of debate or contestation, just as her etiquette, refinement and elegance, can never be questioned.
Her beauty, which even got the most powerful man in the land, President Mugabe, weak in his knees (his nephew Cde Patrick Zhuwawo confirmed), cannot be doubted.
All put together, the prima facie and apparent attributes that Dr Mugabe possesses, place her among the country’s most beautiful women. Her recent academic exploits also add to her ever-growing status as she has moved from the “Mrs” title to attain herself the designation of an academic doctor.
Incumbent Secretary for Women’s Affairs in Zanu-PF Cde Oppah Muchinguri couldn’t agree less, describing the elegant First Lady as: “an Angel, a Queen and the nation’s own Cremora”, in reference to her near-perfect being, as well as her philanthropic disposition.
A more meticulous look would actually show that the First Lady is actually in a league of her own.
Her three-legged tour of Matabeleland region last week, as part of her nationwide “Meet The People” tour, made these qualities a little more overt, yet, as if a bonus, revealing an uncommon side that she had deliberately kept away from the public domain.
Well, maybe there is no time more befitting than now for the mother of a nation to stand up and speak against uncanny elements, threatening to plunge Zanu-PF into a political pit by sowing seeds of division.
A mother, by nature, will always stand up and fight when her sphere, which is the home and its inhabitants, are under threat.
Juxtaposing Dr Mugabe’s winsomeness and elegance, among many other such fine attributes, with the fearless and candid manner in which she has tackled issues and characters bedevilling Zanu-PF, evokes memories of legendary movie character James Bond 007, who was famed for a strong show of elegance, yet taking no prisoners when dealing with his nemesis.
Perhaps an incarnation of 007, in the female form, is what the country and Zanu-PF needs to deal with the divisive elements working against the party’s collective and agreed agenda. Umama Dr Mugabe appears to have taken it upon herself to grab the bull by the horns.
Dr Mugabe kicked off her tour of Matabeleland on Monday last week at Gwanda’s Pelandaba Stadium (Matabeleland South), proceeding to Lupane’s Somhlolo Stadium (Matabeleland North) on Tuesday, before rounding up in the Metropolitan Province of Bulawayo’s AmaZulu Stadium on Wednesday.
She literally took the region by storm, drawing large crowds at all the three rallies she addressed, and her thought-provoking messages at the three gatherings, left a mark on whoever cared to listen attentively without malice or prejudice.
She shot from the hip, 007 style, calling a spade a spade and not a garden tool, as had become the norm in the revolutionary party, where honesty had become foreign.
Critics had labelled her a political green horn, yet the manner in which she has articulated the real issues affecting the party and country show that she has just brought a fresh breath of life into the revolutionary party and the country’s political arena — literally greening in it.
The colour green has always been associated with life and maybe her “political greenness” might be just the tonic needed to restore sanity in the party that is threatening to tear itself apart.
Proudly dressed in her green and yellow Zanu-PF regalia, waving the fist with pride, glee and distinction, her beauty left even journalists momentarily forgetting their pens and notebooks, in awe, with their eyes glued on the learned First Lady.
With her smartness and swift stance as she entered the three venues one could have dismissed Dr Mugabe as any other embryonic politician, but the minute she opened her mouth she immediately showed everyone that not only is she a smart lady, but she is also an intelligent and shrewd politician.
Not only did Dr Mugabe fire from the hip and exude a strong sense of fashion, but she also sprung a lot of surprises and showed people of Matabeleland how multifaceted she was.
American tabloid show host Jerry Springer, famed for springing surprises as his name suggests, might have been left green with envy.
Her speeches were flowing and coherent, one would have been forgiven for thinking that they were prepared speeches but the First Lady was speaking off the cuff, touching on all important subjects, from the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) document to various problems that are bedevilling Zanu-PF.
She spoke from the heart, showing her love for both the party and the nation and at the three rallies Dr Mugabe exhibited the attributes of an orator.
As if this was not enough, Dr Mugabe showed another side of her ever glamorous persona when, during the Bulawayo rally she suddenly broke into song, a feat, which initially caught everyone by surprise but as she went on the crowd immediately joined amid dance and ululation.
The SiNdebele song, “Baba hlala lapha uze ukhokhobe” emphasised and pledged her support for President Mugabe’s continued stay in power.
She even made an attempt to speak SiNdebele, much to the intrigue of the huge crowd that had gathered to listen to her deliver her speech.
To further show her kind heart, Dr Mugabe went on to donate 10 tonnes of seed maize to each of the three provinces, promising the multitudes that thronged her rallies that she would soon be back for follow-up meetings and further assist where ever she could.
The mother of the nation went on to hand over $6 000 to Good Hope Mothers, a Lupane-based organisation that looks after orphaned and vulnerable children.
In Gwanda she blasted the issue of factionalism equating this to corruption, noting that: “This issue of factionalism is corruption. If you buy someone to support you, that’s corruption . . . If you go around saying you’re the one, and you’re unstoppable, you’re working against yourself. You’re jeopardising your chances. Maybe you had chances because you are an intelligent person but you’re jeopardising your chances by your actions.”
This, she said in the presence of the party’s national chairperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, touted as the front runner in the race for the vacant post of Vice President; Home Affairs Minister, Cde Kembo Mohadi; Politiburo member, Cde Naison Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu and Cde Phelekezela Mphoko, who have also tossed their hats into the ring.
In Lupane, she went on to blast the culture among party members to rush to the media and declare their interest in various positions.
“This thing of going to newspapers after deciding that you want a post does not work. We say: ‘What has gotten into you men?’ because most of them are men,” she said.
While in Bulawayo, Dr Mugabe slammed inept ministers urging them to shape up or ship out.
“Baba is very tolerant. I’m talking from an informed position. All these people, I know who’s good at their job and who’s not. I know it, but when we meet them we say: ‘Hello Minister, how are you?’; we respect them.
“At times, I say Baba, the forgiveness is too much. We want people to be in positions on merit, people who will work for us,” she said.
As she concluded her tour of the region last Wednesday, symbolised by the sound of her motorcade’s sirens leaving the packed AmaZulu Sports Club at 3.15pm, her visit and the messages she delivered will remain engraved in the hearts and minds of many for months to come.
For once even commuter omnibus small talk is no longer about the disappointing and clueless, Highlanders Football Club, which the majority of people from the region support but is all about uMama; her looks, her speeches and the charisma she exuded.