Home » Governance » We Need to Laugh Out Loud At Grace’s Praise-Singers [column]

LOL — computer language for Laugh out Loud. And everyone who saw the heading last Thursday did exactly that.

“Amai Dr Mugabe’s tender loving heart,” it said in the Herald supplement of Thursday July 23 to mark Grace Mugabe’s 50th birthday.

“A patriot and a philanthropist, the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe has worked tirelessly to support the needs of the less fortunate, particularly vulnerable children,” we were told.

Her work at Danhiko for the disabled may be laudable, but tender and loving is another matter!

We recall the foul and obscene language she used against political rivals and critics on her meet-the-people tours. Not exactly lady-like!

Unrealistic

Her claim to have survived because she is a strong person is dubious. She has survived because of her wealth and support of her husband which has enabled her to have operations in Singapore and not local hospitals her husband’s regime has run down.

She has been very sick, she said. She listed the illnesses she had in recent years: gallstones, pneumonia, and appendicitis to name but a few. Many of her ailments were denied in the state media at the time.

“Not wanting to stop at the childrens’ home and junior school,” the Herald puff piece continued, “the ever generous Amai Mugabe has revealed she would like to set up a secondary school, a skills training centre, a hospital and ultimately a university for the Mazowe community.

Grace has embraced her role as mother of the nation as she works to support and protect the vulnerable in society, the Herald claimed. She has also encouraged businessmen to contribute.

Leaving Grace to bask in her birthday glory for one minute, Muckraker would like to remind the media of their duty to mention Itai Dzamara’s case at every opportunity, especially so long as the state media is cold-heartedly in denial.

If government had nothing to do with the abduction, why is it making such a song and dance about it? Food for thought.

Errant Chatunga

Meanwhile, another song and dance act was being performed by the first family.

President Robert Mugabe was once again bemoaning young Bellarmine Chatunga whose birthday it also was. Mugabe said he feared that his son could be headed for disaster if he did not rein in his leisure time. He should grow up and take his studies seriously, Mugabe said. He appeared to prefer the attractions of Harare’s night life to his studies, the president said.

As if to rub home the point, Chatunga asked for a round of applause from his audience on the grounds that he was handsome! He had previously been expelled from St George’s when he could no longer exercise self-discipline.

Clearly the Mugabes are a dysfunctional family. And it is interesting to note that black tie was the dress code for the evening. Is this the one-time great socialist?

“The embourgeoisement of Robert Mugabe” would have been a more suitable title for the event.

Denial

Ironically the first family threw a lavish birthday party for Grace when companies, burdened by the constrained fiscal environment are retrenching and shutting down.

Media reported that the event reaped an estimated amount of six million dollars. The structural inequality shown by Mugabe’s dictatorship testifies he is no longer concerned about the general welfare of citizens than his own life.

It’s nothing new, other dictators such as the late Mobutu Sese Seko would rejoice and dance while Zaire remained stuck in the economic doldrums. The likes of King Mswati III of Swaziland is said to have built 13 palaces for his wives while the majority struggle to make ends meet.

Isn’t it irrational for politicians to pay huge sums as reported to watch Grace dance and make empty claims that she is a philanthropist? Zanu PF and all its followers should ask themselves what the Grace charade means in such an environment.

What unique development has she brought to the national table except shopping abroad and persuading his husband to cling onto power despite his dismal failure to transform the livelihoods of toiling masses who are reeling from grinding poverty?

That somehow shows Mugabe has been reduced to a lame-duck president in the new pattern of power.

Not welcome

There would have been some consternation in the Mugabe matrix over the president’s exclusion from Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya and Ethiopia.

Although Mugabe is head of Sadc and the AU, it was obviously made clear to him by the Americans that he would not be welcome in Kenya or Ethiopia.

We can understand why. Obama went to East Africa to encourage young entrepreneurs and promote human rights.

That is not really Mugabe’s agenda, is it despite his spokesperson George Charamba’s efforts to explain it away.

Mugabe wants to talk about Muammar Gaddafi and imperialism, including ideas that were disposed of years ago.

Did the Mugabe camp not see the multitudes of students and officials who attended Obama’s speech in Addis Ababa? It was a tour de force.

They weren’t there to hear yet again about Mugabe’s hero, the dictator Gaddafi. And what a rebuff, being told you can’t attend a meeting of your own organisation that you also chair.

Deceitful

‘Obama’s just another visitor,” Charamba blustered. Mugabe was unmoved by the visit he said.

“The AU is not an organ run by Zimbabwe. The chairman does not run the AU. Obama has come to Ethiopia for an official visit and to address the staff there,” Charamba claimed.

“There are many dignitaries who come to the AU headquarters and you can imagine if they all come wanting the president’s input.”

So that’s Zimbabwe’s official line. There were too many people present to squeeze Mugabe in.

What a crush! And the loudest applause came when Obama said leaders should confine themselves to two terms and not presidents for life. The audience really liked that one. Muckraker, in fact, wishes Mugabe was there to hear it for himself.

Failure

Government recently announced it would no longer support A2 farmers, a development that shows the land reform that began in 2000 has completely failed. Considering that resettled farmers lack machinery to ensure maximum productivity on farms, this means there will be virtually nothing coming from the farms — if ever there was.

A revolutionary development is supposed to be backed by government support and protection to cushion infant sectors from global competition.

How will A2 farmers manage to be competitive without state support?

Why can’t government do the obvious — give land to those who can fully utilise it? What sense does it make to take farms and underutilise them? Mugabe must concede defeat. Instead of blaming sanctions, he should realise he is the major sanction Zimbabwe needs to get rid of.

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