The past few months have seen a brace of unsavoury statements thrown about within the ruling ZANU-PF party, and beyond, as tales of factionalism and in-fighting have taken centre stage. Last week, Acting President Emerson Mnangagwa reportedly likened First Lady Grace Mugabe to an atomic bomb…
But not in a bad way, of course.
In his comments made at a party gathering, Mnangagwa appeared to be commending Grace Mugabe’s eruptive tendencies, as witnessed during her ‘Meet The People Tour’ where attacks on former Vice President, Joice Mujuru, became a regular feature.
But these are the ways of our political leadership at the moment. Here are a few quotes over the past months that have had Zimbabweans uncertain whether to laugh, weep, or just stop reading the press.
“We did not know at the time that the President Robert Mugabe was keeping a political atomic bomb at his house. She is like that bomb dropped on Hiroshima during the Second World War.”
Emerson Mnangagwa addressing a Zanu-PFprovincial coordinating committee in Gweru.
The Hiroshima bombing killed thousands upon thousands of people. This quote is heavy with meaning.
“Why were you not aware that this country wanted to be taken away by a woman with the help of the MDC-T? We are experiencing it for the first time in Zanu PF and for that matter it’s a woman who is saying I want to take over that seat.”
President Robert Mugabe, speaking indirectly about Mujuru’s alleged bid to take over the nation with the backing of the opposition.
Seemingly disconcerted by women who display power in ways he doesn’t sanction, Mugabe once termed Lindiwe Zulu, SADC’s facilitation team spokesperson at the time of the 2013 elections, a ‘street woman’.
“People were now dividing the (Women’s) league and we said no, Mai Mugabe should intervene. Others had said Muchinguri has ‘Cremora’ all over her body, but no, it is (Amai) Grace who has the Cremora. She moves at a supersonic speed, hey, don’t touch!”
Former Minister of Gender, Oppah Muchinguri, addressing the audience in Bindura during the First Lady’s ‘Meet The People’ tour.
Cremora goes with coffee, as far as I know. I am not sure about coffee creamer on women’s bodies. But alas. I probably miss the point.
“Ndakati inini kuna Baba, ndakati kuna Baba, baby dumping munoiziva here? Zvikanzi ehe. Ndikati munhu iyeye aikutungamira factionalism toda kuti muite baby dumping. Mukasa mudumper isusu tichamudumper. Tichaita baby dumping nekuti zvino divider musangano.” (I said to the President, do you know what baby dumping is? And he said yes. And then I said we want you to dump the person presiding over factionalism like a baby gets dumped. If you don’t dump, we will. We will do baby dumping because this [factionalism] divides the party.”
Grace Mugabe during her ‘Meet The People’ tour in Mashonaland Central.
Considering that Mugabe runs an orphanage precisely because baby dumping is a serious issue in Zimbabwe, this comment was particularly unsettling. Never mind that she likens Mujuru to a baby when in terms of political credentials, it is undoubtedly Mugabe who is Mujuru’s junior.
“Today there were media reports saying that I said I have a recording of Mai Mujuru being intimate with a man. What I said is she should not wear mini-skirts in front of young people, I said so because it is her culture. What she was wearing in the video was inappropriate considering she was in her lounge with a young man. Ende munhu ane muviri muhombe (She has a big body)… Even women in Parliament came to me complaining saying we educated her on how to dress. I said let her, but not before children. Chero isu tine miviri akanaka handife ndakapfeka mini pavana. (Some of us have good bodies, but you will never see me wearing a mini in front of children.)”
Grace Mugabe during the ‘Meet the People’ tour.
Coming at a time when Zimbabwe was having ongoing debate about mini-skirts and women’s bodily autonomy, taking the political mudslinging down this route was ill advised, to say the least.
“Yes, Grace Mugabe is our First Lady, but she is just a young girl who does not know politics at all.”
Garikai Sithole the son to the late Zanu (Ndonga) leader Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole in an interview with The Standard newspaper.
They must always be ‘girls’. Never women. Mind you, Mugabe turns 50 this year.
“All the pain the nation was subjugated to lies squarely on her [Joice Mujuru] lap as the woman czar at the helm of the Zimbabwean economy. Her illiteracy, both literary and economic, plunged Zimbabwe into economic hell.”
Minister of Welfare Services For War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Christopher Mutsvangwa.
How powerful was/ is Mujuru, exactly? At this rate, she must surely be the cause of erratic weather patterns too.
If Mujuru was as powerful as claims have made her out to be, she won’t go away without a fight. With news swirling around that she may be preparing to set up her own political party soon and sway ZANU-PF parliamentarians to her side – and against the President – we may still just be at the beginning of this verbal political smack down.