HARARE – Zimbabweans have reacted angrily to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s brush with the law in South Africa where she faces charges of severely assaulting a 20-year-old model, Gabriella Engels she had found with her sons at an upmarket hotel in Sandton, on Sunday.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme believes that while conflict is inevitable, violence is not.
“Reacting violently to a conflictual situation shows that someone is unable to respond in a non-adversarial manner to a conflict.
“That this violence was perpetrated on a young lady by a fellow woman betrays Grace as a misfit and unsuitable to hold public office.
“She is not fit to hold the women’s league portfolio in her party or to hold the esteemed position of a mother of the nation.”
Saungweme said Grace is a very conflicted woman trying to run orphanages yet she has no respect for rights of young women.
“As a nation we must be very afraid that someone like her, who can’t manage such a simple situation of a young lady found with her sons has political ambitions to hold public office in our dear country.
“This incident is such a scandal, a criminal offence that must be a final nail in her moribund and tumultuous dumpy political career founded on vehemence, character assassination of opponents and venomous and unhinged circumlocution spews.
“This must just seal her fate, politically. Zimbabweans whether Zanu PF members or not, must never negate their duty of care for the nation by electing Grace in any public position,” said Saungweme.
Social commentator Farai Maguwu believes Grace lives in her own world.
“She overrates herself and her rights know no limits. She will remain like that till her political immunity which comes by association to President (Robert) Mugabe crumbles.
“I have listened to her speak many times and have failed to locate a mother in her. But the big question is if she can brutalise that innocent girl in her own country what does this tell about human rights in Zimbabwe?”
Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said Grace’s utterly odious assault on a defenceless young woman not only exposes her true character as a violent and boisterous person but also shows that all her supposed philanthropic work is disingenuous.
“Her shameless act is an indictment on the legacy of Mugabe — who despite his several flaws remains a Statesman — and by extension she has embarrassed the entire country and one hopes she will be held accountable for her actions,” added Nyamutumbu.
Social commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said: “The question really is: is the so-called ‘loving mother’ not beating up her orphans at Mazowe in the name of discipline? Her behaviour and her demeanour during rallies show she has a high propensity to abuse people.
“I wonder how her body guards, aides, cooks and gardeners are treated! How a woman with such an emotional short fuse can co-habit with children and care for the disabled is a mystery. She is not mother or leadership material.”
Legislator Jessie Majome believes this is all an absolute, utter disgrace.
“It betrays her lack of internal values of care and concern and casts doubt on the sincerity of her ‘philanthropic’ ventures.
“Her reported brutish conduct places the organisations she leads into disrepute and is a national embarrassment to no end.”
Majome added that the government’s claiming immunity for her is not only a scandalous waste of State resources “but cements us as a lawless State if it is not accompanied by a plan for our National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute her here at home since she enjoys no such immunity here. The State mustn’t abuse diplomatic immunity to secure her impunity.”
Political activist Tabani Moyo said the recent episode has exposed her wiring.
“Why does a whole first lady or anyone for that matter believe in such a show of force? It exposes that behind the bravado, she is an insecure person, who believes in inflicting pain than reason.
“It also says a lot about the levels of impunity in this country that is yet to be documented. If we had the institutions stronger than persons in Zimbabwe, we would have seen the correct measure of punishment mating her, but as usual, she had a trail of violence allegedly orchestrated over the years including grabbing properties, assaulting and insulting anyone holding dissenting views.
“This is simply a matter of showing to the world without any form of scapegoat of her true wiring.”
Commentator Hopewell Chin’ono said what happened in South Africa reflects the real Grace Mugabe, “temperamental, unmeasured and disrespectful to rules and laws.
“It is a true reflection of how the Zanu PF elite conduct business, they have no sense of parameter and they will do anything regardless of consequences because it’s them.
“The world has seen the impunity with which Grace and her husband rule Zimbabwe with an iron fist. It shows that her talk about women’s rights and violence is nothing but a political charade.”
Political activist and actor Silvanos Bhanditi said Grace is a violent person.
“The way she even talks at rallies and bullies people at public events, one is not surprised at all by this incident.
“I am so worried about the safety and treatment of kids at her orphanage because other countries with rule of law would send inspectors to check on these kids at that orphanage.
“Even the treatment of workers at the orphanage and Gushungo diaries should be checked. I won’t be surprised of these workers are being constantly harassed or beaten.
“Violence doesn’t happen once it is a process that occurs everyday. It’s a very dangerous addiction which needs counselling. Actually one wonders if our president is safe in Grace’s hands considering his age. He might also be a victim.”
Morgan Tsvangirais’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the debacle in SA exposes Grace for the hypocrite that she is.
“For starters, even if she were to attempt to justify her behaviour on the basis of the morals of her children, it must not be lost on Zimbabweans that this is an immoral woman who snatched …Mugabe when his wedded wife, Sally, was suffering from a kidney ailment. The hypocrisy stinks to high heavens.”