WASHINGTON DC —
First Lady Grace Mugabe says Zimbabweans must cherish their independence as well as the peace prevailing in the country despite the hardships that the majority of people are currently facing.
Addressing thousands of people at Maphisa Growth Point in Matabeleland South on Thursday, Mrs. Mugabe said Zimbabweans should cherish the independence and unity brought about by nationalists like the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, saying doing so would ensure that his soul rests in peace.
Mr. Nkomo led his ZAPU party into a unity accord with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in 1987, and the signing of the pact between the two nationalist parties is celebrated as Unity Day every December 22nd.
The first lady acknowledged that many people are struggling as a result of the economic crisis that the country is facing but noted that this should not make them forget the country’s liberation history.
Mrs. Mugabe, whose recent criticism of war veterans made headlines, said Zimbabweans should always respect the role played by liberation war heroes like President Mugabe, the late Nkomo as well as the likes of Simon Khaya Moyo and Kembo Mohadi, who were among some senior Zanu PF leaders at the meeting.
The first lady took her time to explain the Zimasset programme which she said was meant to counter sanctions that she said were imposed on Zimbabwe by western countries, adding that it will help pull the country out of the current mess.
She also said Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s recent state visit shows the fruition of Zimbabwe’s Look East policy, adding that the agreements signed between Zimbabwe and China will help put the economy back on track.
While asserting that President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have people at heart, Mrs. Mugabe also attacked MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai accusing him of bringing suffering to the majority through asking western countries to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The West imposed targeted sanctions were imposed on President Mugabe and his inner circle accusing them of human rights violations and electoral fraud. Mr. Mugabe has dismissed these allegations as wishful thinking.
His wife also took a swipe at some western non-governmental organizations, which she accused of taking advantage of food insecurity in areas like Matabeleland South and using food aid as a way of trying to effect regime change.
But Mrs. Mugabe herself said she had brought a consignment of food and other household items as “a show of her love for the people.”
She donated, among many goodies and agriculture implements, 200 tonnes of maize and 120 tonnes of rice. She also announced that there was a thousand tonnes of maize meal that people would receive from the GMB as part of government’s food aid.
Mrs. Mugabe has often used her meetings to lambast some senior party leaders for being at the centre of factionalism in the ruling Zanu PF party but on Thursday she praised Matabeleland South party supporters saying there was no factionalism in the province.
She also warned youths against being involved in political violence.