Shabby State House has ‘no space’ for Tsvangirai
HARARE: Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe, says there is no vacancy at State House and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai “is dreaming” if he thinks he will be the next president after the July 31 elections.
Grace Mugabe, who recently built and opened the most expensive private school in Zimbabwe, does not live at State House.
She and her husband live in a R100 million mansion in the top Harare suburb, Borrowdale, which is maintained by the state, though it is their private property.
State House is a very much smaller, colonial-style house compared with the Mugabe mansion, which has three floors and extensive grounds with lakes and a helipad.
State House is still used for state banquets and official meetings. It is close to the Harare town centre, but is in need of maintenance.
Addressing thousands of people at a “star rally” at Glendale, 50km north of Harare this week, ahead of elections, Mugabe’s wife said the MDC-T leader was not leadership material.
“I want to repeat what I said in 2008. There is no vacancy at State House. It is occupied fulltime.”
The rally was held at a school, which is illegal, according to Education Minister David Coltart.
Referring to Tsvangirai’s love life, Grace Mugabe told Zanu- PF supporters at the rally that leadership was not about changing women or going on holiday – in apparent reference to Tsvangirai’s busy love life after his wife Susan was killed in a car crash in 2008. Last year Tsvangirai married Elizabeth Macheka.
Mugabe said her husband was a hard- working leader who remained resolute on what he believed was best for the people of Zimbabwe.
Robert Mugabe himself, 89 but still looking fit, told the rally Zanu-PF should avoid the mistake it made in 2008 when it lost two constituencies in Mashonaland Central province to Tsvangirai’s MDC – including the one where the rally was held.
He was accompanied at the rally by Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who many think will take over the presidency within a year or two if Mugabe wins.
He reminded thousands of Zanu- PF supporters, who laughed heartily when Mugabe described Tsvangirai as “politically ugly”, that he had started his election rallies in Mashonaland Central because of the region’s rich liberation history.
After the rally Grace Mugabe donated food to orphans and the elderly in the Chiweshe district.
This district witnessed one of the worst single acts of political violence after the previous elections in 2008, when Zanu- PF learned that Tsvangirai had easily beaten Mugabe in the presidential poll – and had won in Chiweshe, which Zanu-PF regarded as a stronghold.
Fourteen MDC supporters were beaten and hacked to death in daylight in front of their families and villagers.
No one has been arrested, although the identities of some of the perpetrators were widely known.
DISMISSIVE: Robert Mugabe, left, and his wife Grace at the Zanu-PF rally in Glendale, Zimbabwe.