HARARE – Disgruntled war veterans have escalated their fight with the First Family — this time by poking fun at influential Grace Mugabe — whom they are portraying as a failed mother through T-shirts carrying disparaging messages.
The T-shirts are emblazoned with Grace’s face and have gone viral on social media.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda has been pictured wearing one such T-shirt.
“Control your children first. Grace a failed mum; her sons unruly rogues failing only with two boys, can’t mother 14 million,” reads the message on the T-shirt that Matemadanda proudly wore.
This followed recent statements by Grace agonising over her sons’ — Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine — wayward behaviour which saw them being ejected from a plush residence in South Africa in June.
The impressionable youths have now become the bane of jokes, with a post of Matemadanda’s T-shirt on Facebook amassing thousands of “likes.”
Matemadanda yesterday told the Daily News that he had received the controversial apparel from well-wishers he declined to reveal.
“We are not afraid of being arrested. If we are arrested we will stay in prison until that time when they feel we should be freed,” Matemadanda told the Daily News.
At a press conference earlier on Wednesday, Matemadanda had also laid into Grace saying she does not deserve to be called the First Lady because of her conduct.
“We heard the first lady is doing this, no, this is the second first lady. Our first lady is Sally. Our first lady helped us during the war,” said Matemadanda referring to the late President Robert Mugabe’s Ghanaian-born wife who died of renal failure in 1992.
In 1996, Mugabe married Grace Marufu, his former secretary, with whom he already had two children.
Their third child was born in 1997.
“What worries us is that when Sally felt sick, she didn’t go outside the country but some are getting treatment outside the country,” Matemadanda told a news conference on Wednesday.
“Sally was a unifier not ava vekuuruka uruka ava (not this one who appears wild) dancing at rallies with (Zanu PF political commissar Saviour) Kasukuwere.
“Every time you will see her in Singapore, her children are misbehaving in South Africa, so do you think Charamba is more stubborn than her children?
“So why did she do that to Charamba? We don’t like that,” said Matemadanda, referring to a rally held in Chinhoyi two weeks ago in which Grace attacked presidential spokesperson, George Charamba at the youth interface rally.
A large section of the war veterans — including Matemadanda have publicly expressed their desire to see Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe — a move which is being fiercely opposed by the G40 faction which has the backing of Grace.