via Anger over Grace police, army ‘abuse’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 21, 2015
OPPOSITION political parties have criticised First Lady Grace Mugabe for ordering the police and military to distribute “goodies” to citizens in the name of the ruling Zanu PF.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Grace told thousands of Zanu PF supporters in Mbare this week that she would give them food.
But after grumblings that the “goodies” might be “stolen” by party apparatchiks, she said the army and police will be responsible for the distribution door-to-door.
The Zanu PF women’s league chairperson has been touring the country, doling food hand-outs and farming equipment, some of which is reportedly part of a $90 million government deal with Brazil.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said Grace was turning out to be Zimbabwe’s own version of executed 18th century French Queen, Marie Antoinette, who reportedly retorted that hungry citizens should eat cake.
“The use of the army is abuse of State institutions by the First Lady, who is a mere party functionary and should not be allowed anywhere near the army. She is being badly advised and committing crimes in the process,” he said.
“Grace does not have immunity. The one with immunity is the President, hence her advisers should bring her up to speed for she will be made to account sooner rather than later.”
He added: “It is now clear that Grace is behaving like Marie Antoinette in the former French Queen’s last days. It would serve her well to study a bit of history.”
The country’s main opposition party, the MDC-T, has threatened to take Grace to court on allegations of “pilfering” State resources.
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to explain to Parliament Grace’s role in government programmes and he had to bite his tongue.
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Grace should not be allowed to abuse the military and police for “party factional wars”.
“She is not a government official and as such, she has no constitutional mandate to boss around the police and the army. She must ‘Stop it!” he said
“As the MDC, we are totally bamboozled why all those men and women in Zanu PF, some of whom are quite honest and patriotic citizens, are just looking aside as this woman literally runs amok. Zimbabwe is not a monarchy.”
Gutu added: “This is the very reason why the MDC is mooting the idea of taking this matter up with the courts. We cannot just stand aside and watch as Grace Mugabe continues to defile and bastardise State institutions.”
Grace has been touted as a possible successor for her 91-year-old husband and is reportedly now locked in a bitter war for control of the ruling party with Mnangagwa.
She has, however, declared she has “no presidential ambitions”.