First Lady de-escalates toxic rhetoric

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Grace Mugabe

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday shied away from her usual attacks on top Zanu PF officials at a rally in Maphisa, Matabeleland South, preferring to take a more conciliatory approach thereby avoid an embarrassing situation she created last year during her controversial “meet-the-people rallies” in that region.

Herbert Moyo

Grace was humiliated in Gwanda and Bulawayo last year when party supporters walked out on her while she was speaking. The First Lady struggled with her speech and had to watch helplessly as people marched away just as she started speaking about factionalism in the party. She also chastisised the party’s regional leadership for engaging in nasty power struggles.

At yesterday’s rally in Maphisa, Grace spoke on issues affecting the Matabeleland region, like hunger and poverty, promising continued government support.

She has held rallies in Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Harare and Midlands provinces where she used the platform for vitriolic attacks on her rivals, including war veterans and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Grace urged villagers to emulate Nkomo’s legacy of promoting national unity while promising them further development assistance from government.

“Dr Nkomo (Nkomo hails from Kezi which neighbours Maphisa) is one of the biggest heroes who led Zimbabwe to independence. He struggled in his life for Zimbabwe to gain independence,” said Grace adding that people in the district and province should remain united under Zanu PF so that Nkomo’s soul can rest in peace.

“This area is drought prone that’s why government set up irrigation schemes like the Arda scheme here. Yes, we were the breadbasket of this Southern Africa region and if we implement these schemes well we shall return to that position.”

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