It is in this light we should understand Grace Mugabe’s reaction to the alleged to bomb her family’s business and the ‘plot to kill Chatunga’. She reacted like any parent would. I must hasten to say that threatening to kill anyone is wrong and must never be condoned.
However, there is something that is manifestly clear in the statements by the First Lady. It is only when her children are threatened that she cares. As a public figure, who is the wife of the President of the Republic, one would expect her compassion to extend beyond her own family. One does not expect her to care less about her family but to care about all families. When she spoke passionately about the plot to kill her children, it struck most people that this kind of passion has never been seen when the children of her compatriots were faced with such threats.
Her husband has threatened to kill other people’s children for daring to oppose him. He has unleashed shadowy state organs on the people of Zimbabwe; visiting untold horrors on those who dared to stand in his way. Conservative estimates say that about 20000 Zimbabweans were killed in Matabeleland and Midlands for ‘supporting’ dissidents. The victims of this horrible crime against humanity were someone else’ children, someone’s husband or wife, someone else’s parent. The only difference is that they were not Robert Mugabe’s children. They were killed because they were perceived to be enemies of her husband. I understand that this was before the First Lady’s marriage to Robert Mugabe but I am yet to hear Grace Mugabe show compassion for the mothers who lost their children, children who lost their parents or for children who were killed as a direct result of her husband’s policies. Instead we have seen her appear to be working closely with the Gukurahundi denier, VP Mphoko. You can draw your own conclusions.
In the years since the 1999 launch of the MDC Party thousands of Zimbabweans have been killed, maimed and displaced for supporting a political party other than Robert Mugabe’s ZPF. The killings were political; motivated by political differences. Those killed, those left for dead and those who were left permanently disabled were targeted for their politics. The violence visited upon Zimbabweans by ZPF members in 2008 with the implicit and explicit blessing of her husband was truly terrible. If we are to believe the alleged attempt to bomb Mugabe’s Dairy business and the alleged plot to kill Chatunga Mugabe then the motivation appears to be political differences. Those charged with attempting to bomb the Mugabe business are said to belong to an obscure Zimbabwean political party. We are told, by The Chronicle, that those plotting to kill Chatunga include the military and a faction of the ZPF party. This would make the plot politically motivated and driven by political differences. It is, therefore, telling that Grace Mugabe’s instinct to protect has only kicked in to protect her biological children. This clearly suggests that children whose name is not Mugabe do not matter. The children whose name is not Mugabe can be killed for political reasons because their lives matter less than Grace’s. Otherwise how can we explain the fact that Grace and Robert Mugabe have not been moved by the politically motivated disappearance of Patrick Nabanyana, Paul Chizuze and others? How else would you explain the silence and, at times, callous reaction of the Mugabes to the death of hundreds of MDC activists such Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika? How can we explain the Mugabes’ lack of compassion for the Dzamara family? We can only conclude that Grace Mugabe only cares about her own children (Russell, Bona, Robert Jnr and Chatunga). She only cares about the threat to those of her own blood.
A few weeks ago Zimbabweans watched as bulldozers demolished homes built near the main International Airport in Harare. This followed complaints by Robert Mugabe that the homes were an eyesore. The President’s minions removed the eyesore by making families and children homeless. There were obviously some legal and planning issues with this settlement but one must not forget that these people were sold the land by ZPF land barons. Like Grace Mugabe, these parents’ natural instinct to protect drove them to build homes for their families; safe places for their children. But unlike Grace’s these were children whose name was not Mugabe hence they didn’t deserve the mother-hen protection we now see her giving to her children.
It is this that makes it hard to for us empathise with Grace Mugabe’s natural instinct to protect her children; the fact that she is happy for her family to perpetuate their stay in power through the killing and maiming of other people’s children. To her, the children whose name is not Mugabe are fair game! The children whose name is not Mugabe also matter. When they are threatened we should all seek to protect them. They, like Chatunga, should not be killed because of political differences. As long as the Mugabes indirectly and directly promote violence against those who oppose them in their own party and in the opposition I cannot find it in my heart to feel sorry for Grace Mugabe. As long as Robert and Grace Mugabe continue to show contempt for the children of others, the lives of their political opponents and the children whose name is not Mugabe it is difficult to feel compassion for them in the face of threats to their children’s lives. This may explain the callousness that you see in the comments on social media. All children’s lives should matter not just those of children whose name is Mugabe.
As a parent, I completely understand Grace Mugabe’s reaction to these threats but, as a Zimbabwean, I find it nauseating that this side of her has only come to the fore because someone has threatened her flesh and blood.Post published in: Letters to the Editor