HARARE – She is now halfway through the comedy show that will take her to the country’s 10 provinces, but the nation’s laughter is unrelenting as the slapstick continues to unravel.
We may have watched similar comedies, from Mukadota to Sabhuku Vharazipi to Paraffin, but the Grace Mugabe Show beats them all because this one is an astounding but gripping reality show.
In just one week, the State broadcaster has given us eight hours of her tour in a classic case of gross abuse of its viewers and listeners.
Her comic script throughout the visit to the provinces is the same: to announce her arrival at the pedestal of Zanu PF politics, to threaten rivals, to engage in name-calling, to utter brazenly defamatory statements and to make downright stupid assertions.
Her feet are firmly stuck in her mouth and there is no better testimony to the controversy, doubt and disbelief around her doctorate than the empty speeches she continues to make, even in the company of a retinue of members of one of the Zanu PF factions.
The name of Morgan Tsvangirai continues to frequently but needlessly come out of her lips.
The vitriol against senior Zanu PF officials is unrelenting. It is inconsistent with her newly acquired academic qualification. Why she would think it is up to Zanu PF provincial chairpersons, and not up to her husband and the government he heads, to implement ZimAsset and make it work.
She has been shouting loud throughout her tour that senior officials in the provinces should make ZimAsset work, whatever that animal is, even though every sane Zimbabwean knows that pie in the sky is a Zanu PF programme that should be implemented by the party in government, which government her husband leads.
And to imagine she is a “Dr”!
A bit of history could put this doctorate into its proper academic context.
Some years back, this doctor was reported to have had a paltry 7 percent in her English exams with the University of London. Only early this year, the “Dr” shouted to a bemused photojournalist outside an up-market hospital in Singapore, “Don’t take photo! Iwe, don’t take photo mhani!!”
She is so learned that she does not know that demonstrations and popular protests are permissible under the new Constitution, overwhelmingly endorsed by over three million Zimbabweans in a referendum.
She thinks such demonstrations can only happen, not because the Constitution allows them, but because Morgan Tsvangirai who is talking about them, “has demons.” Does this lady of laughter mean we have a demonic Constitution?
We have said it and we will say it again!
Amai Mugabe’s utterances do not reflect her so-called education, neither do they mirror the dignity and her status as the First Lady of the country.
She has always shown an unparalleled fixation with the person of Morgan Tsvangirai. Unbeknown to the good “Dr”, demonstrations and peaceful protests are not a Tsvangirai matter.
They are constitutionally permissible and are a result of the national grievances that are now affecting all of us regardless of our political diversity.
Demonstrations are inevitable because there has been national convergence across the sectors that we reserve our democratic choice to exercise those basic rights that we have under the new Constitution.
The problem with Grace, who presidential spokesperson George Charamba tells us is a woman of means, is that she is not aware of the true gravity of the crisis facing the ordinary Zimbabwean.
Zimbabweans are struggling to put food on the table and to send their children to school while ZimAsset and the Zanu PF election promises have no life anywhere except in the neatly packed blueprints in various government offices.
For a renowned grabber like her, things ought to be easy.
But not every other citizen can act with impunity as she does to get what they want. Life is easy for someone used to grabbing. She grabbed a husband from a dying Sally Mugabe, grabbed the whole of Mazowe, grabbed a PhD and grabbed a powerful position in a party her husband leads.
And she is sending a not-so-subtle message she may just as well grab the presidency itself at the climax of this inimitable comic script!
For ordinary folk like us, we live our lives through honesty and hard work.
When things are tough; just as they are now, our legitimate and constitutional right to express ourselves should not be criminalised, especially by “Drs” whose qualifications we expect to be as genuine as our collective suffering!
At every provincial gathering, she continues to make unwise political statements, further entrenching factionalism especially by attacking publicly those provincial leaders aligned to Joice Mujuru.
The unpopular faction is obviously using Grace not because they like her, but simply to thwart the political fortunes of the vice president.
And we have seen the members of the sponsoring faction in tow in all the provinces, monitoring this comedy and the impact of their pet project.
In the Bible, the Lord says “Watch me deal with Pharaoh.”
We in the MDC are watching the comedy with bemusement, especially when Grace accuses senior Zanu PF officials of trying to remove Mugabe and to effect regime change, accusations that used to be associated with our party.
The shoe is on the other foot and being the ungifted academic, Grace is unwittingly confirming the national consensus that is now cutting across the parties that Mugabe must go.
Her message that almost every senior official in Zanu PF is keen to see Mugabe’s back is enough evidence that there is national convergence that her husband has become a Zim Liability (and not a ZimAsset!!).
Grace’s unwitting confirming to the world that Mugabe must go has become a rallying cry and a point of national political convergence.
Bemusement is our current preoccupation in the MDC, especially against the background of a press conference a few years back by service chiefs telling us the presidency is a strait jacket reserved only for those who fought in the liberation struggle.
They only had Morgan Tsvangirai in mind.
Now with Sisi Gire knocking on the presidency, we await to hear what has now happened to that jacket.
This is the brave 21st century; the digital age which certainly cannot be associated with dynasties. Does someone in Zanu PF want to turn back the hands of time to this medieval nonsense?
These, indeed, are exciting times! The national assessment in recent months has been that the centre in the country and in Zanu PF is no longer holding.
For some of us, there is no longer any centre, whether holding or not!
In the meantime, let us all watch the comedy.
After touring half the provinces, we are still not sure whether she has joined the party leadership to entrench the factions or to end them as the claims.
While Shakespeare’s King Lear had a fool at his court, has Zimbabwe’s royalty taken over the court jester’s role?
The jury is still out!
*Tamborinyoka doubles up as spokesperson to Morgan Tsvangirai as well as principal director of information and publicity in the MDC. He writes here in his personal capacity.