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BOOTLICKING STAMPEDE

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THE stampede to endorse President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, as the new Zanu PF women’s league secretary-general hit a bizarre note yesterday with war veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda describing her as Mother Theresa.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR REPORTER

Sibanda said he saw no one better qualified to lead the Zanu PF women’s wing than the 49-year-old Grace. Zanu PF organs have been falling over each other to publicly endorse her to succeed Oppah Muchinguri at the party’s congress in December.

Muchinguri and some members of the women’s league set the ball rolling when they announced the endorsement in Mazowe last Friday.

She said Grace was being rewarded for standing by her husband during tough times, including when he was hounded by the “paparazzi”.

Since Muchinguri’s request, various choruses of approval have been sung by Zanu PF’s organs, including those whose votes won’t be required to propel Grace to the politburo.

Sibanda was at pains to compare the First Lady to the late philanthropic Roman Catholic religious sister and founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Theresa.

He said the First Lady was an excellent philanthropist like Mother Theresa.

“She has been kind to the people and cares for orphans. She is the only one in the world I know, besides Mother Teresa, who led an organisation,” Sibanda said.

“The First Lady is an ordinary citizen who used her own money to build an orphanage. She grew up a country girl and happened to get married to the president. She cares for orphans, both girls and boys.

“What touches me is that she also cares for children of women who are in prison. On the political front, she is the only woman who is on the sanctions list, not because she committed a crime, but because she stood dedicated to the ideology of the country; dedicated to an ideology of people who were enslaved inside and outside the country’s boundaries; dedicated to the ideology of a race, which fought a protracted war to get back its land,” he said.

“She suffered for that despite the fact that she was not in the (Zanu PF) central committee, women’ league or the politburo.”

He said as war veterans they viewed Grace as the right person to work with since they shared the same ideology.

“I feel she’s not only a partner to the women’s league, but also to the war veterans as she fights for an ideology which we believe in,” Sibanda said.

Zanu PF Bulawayo women’s league provincial chairperson Ever Bitu yesterday said her province had endorsed the First Lady’s leadership.

“We will not change our endorsement. We endorsed her in Mazowe as provinces and Bulawayo still endorses her. She’s a hard worker who has women issues at heart,” she said

“We know that if she is close to us, our lives as women in politics will improve as she will be easily accessible.

“I am 100% behind her like women in this province. You saw what happened last year during election campaigns when women got kitchen utensils?

“She was the one who was telling the president that our women needed him.

“We are very happy to have her as our leader. Muchinguri was also good, but she did the right thing to offer her position to the First Lady.”

All the Zanu PF provincial structures have supported the proposal for her to lead the women’s league.

Zanu PF apologists have previously bordered on blasphemy by equating Mugabe to Jesus Christ saying he shared the same vision as the Lord.

Some have declared that Mugabe was God-ordained to rule Zimbabwe, while others said he was like the biblical Moses who would deliver Zimbabweans from oppression.

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