By Maynard Manyowa
A faction within Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu PF is planning a ‘massive million man march’ demonstration in solidarity with the country’s First Lady Grace Mugabe whose image and reputation has received a massive knock following a rowdy rampage in South Africa a fortnight ago.
Mrs Mugabe assaulted three models in an upmarket hotel in Sandton, South Africa. A waitress at the hotel lost her pregnancy after she was pushed by Mugabe’s son Robert in the heat of the rampage.
In the aftermath, Grace Mugabe became the subject of global headlines, making it to the front page of newspapers all over the world. From Dubai, to Buenos Aires.
The South African government were placed between an effective rock and hard place, with sources within the ANC government stating that cabinet was divided, and could not agree regards how to proceed. Police Minister FIkile Mbalula wanted Grace Mugabe arrested, while other members of the top six, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are said to have supported Mbalula’s position that the law should take its course.
Other members of cabinet, especially Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane are said to have expressed fear that the entire continent could condemn such a direction, leading to South Africa’s isolation.
Grace Mugabe was only saved after her husband Robert travelled to South Africa earlier than planned and held negotiations with his South African counterpart Zuma. Grace Mugabe was then granted midnight justice and sneaked out of the country in the wee hours of morning.
Her immunity has since been challenged in courts, and law experts are certain that it will be revoked, and a warrant for her arrest issued.
The whole saga(s) have left Grace Mugabe’s personal reputation in tatters, amid several other revelations during that time that she has a history of violence, while her children’s paternity has been questioned.
This has apparently forced the G40 faction (which is angling for a Grace presidency) to act.
Sources said yesterday (Sunday) Zanu PF provincial commissars held a meeting in Harare to strategize the ruling party’s voter registration drive.
After the meeting Harare Provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe raised the issue (million man march) hoping that other provinces would support the move.
“It was Mashayamombe who raised the issue and the motion was supported by the Masvingo pcc Jeppy Jaboon,“said the source.
“The demonstration will be held in Harare with hopes of trying to clear the firsy lady’s name.”
Those aligned to a rival Lacoste faction however said the demonstration is bound to fail because noone is in support of violence, and because Grace’s actions were indefensible.
“How do you defend someone who beats up a defensless little girl with an electric cable while 10 monyas (bouncers) hold her back? It would be akin to supporting violence against women. We won’t be a part of such nonsense.”
Zanu PF sources also said since the South African saga Grace has become media shy and the demonstration will help her regain her stamina.
“Grace is obviously involved in this demonstration which is aimed at giving her some energy in the forthcoming rallies.”
G40 protagonists also want the placards supporting Grace to be waved at the Midlands Zanu PF youth Interface on Friday.
However sources said the youth rally is likely to be explosive after president Robert Mugabe last week raised tempers by dismissing that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was poisoned.
“It is going to be an explosive meeting so any G40 machinations will be met with stiff resistance.”
“Already slogans such as pasi nevaroi, pasi nepoision have been engineered so that they feature on Friday.”
“G40 should not use the rally to support Grace’s wayward behaviour. That will not be entertained because people will walk out.”