Gweru NGO courts Grace over touts wayward behaviour

“There is no doubt that she is a centre of their power. She will soon be placed on the same level as the president.”

DO you have a problem? Then First Lady Grace Mugabe is your woman.

Stephen Chadenga

The First Lady is increasingly becoming the go-to person for anyone with a problem ranging from being unpaid, being ill-treated, corruption and the much acclaimed factionalism.

Now a Gweru-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) that deals with widows and orphaned children has called on Grace, as the new Zanu PF women’s affairs boss, to take action on touts that strip and dehumanise women in public.

Hopeful Life for Widows and Orphans director Alice Shiri told Southern Eye that her organisation was disturbed by the behaviour of touts and advocated for stern measures against them.

“As an organisation that works with women and children, Hopeful Life for Widows and Orphans is not happy with the inhuman behaviour being exhibited by touts, of stripping women naked,” she said.

“We are asking Amai Grace Mugabe, as the (Zanu PF) leader of women’s affairs to help our sisters who are falling prey to these barbaric acts by touts.”

Shiri’s calls come in the wake of the arrest of 32-year-old Harare tout, Marvellous Kandemiri, last week on allegations of stripping a woman after accusing her of “dressing improperly”.

Kandemiri has since appeared before the courts and was on Monday denied bail by Harare magistrate Milton Serima. Shiri said women were at risk of being sexually abused by touts who had the “guts to strip women” in public.

She said the government should enact laws that severely punish people who perpetrate any forms of violence against women.

After the incident in Harare several women pressure groups have demonstrated at the Harare Magistrates Courts waving placards in solidarity with the woman who was allegedly stripped.

Come 2015, Grace will have her work cut out for her. She will have to drape her superwoman cape and solve the country’s ills.

Already National Railways of Zimbabwe employees have asked her to intervene, as the parastatal is in salary arrears for eight months.

Tokwe-Mukorsi villagers have also asked the holidaying First Lady to address their plight.