HARARE – Outspoken former Member of Parliament Margaret Dongo has said Zimbabwean universities should bestow an honorary degree on President Robert Mugabe’s late wife Sally.
Dongo, who has spoken out about her admiration for the late national heroine, said the works that Sally did for Zimbabwe was unparalleled.
“Sally should get a doctorate; it is just unfortunate that we are not honouring her for her role not only during the liberation struggle but also after,” Dongo told the Daily News.
“A foreigner joining the war and losing her son, she loved the less privileged.”
With Mugabe’s current wife Grace hogging the limelight after controversially obtaining a doctorate degree from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), supporters of Sally feel the late nationalist — who hailed from Ghana — should be recognised posthumously. Sally, the first heroine to be buried at the National Heroes Acre, was instrumental in transforming the ruling party’s Women’s League.
Through her tireless devotion towards the welfare of children and the underprivileged in society, Sally struck a chord with many Zimbabweans, who affectionately called her Amai.
In 1981, she became the patron of Mutemwa Leprosy Centre in Mutoko and helped erase the social stigma associated with lepers.
She also assumed patronage of many children’s centres including disabled and orphaned children.
Sally also initiated projects aimed at rehabilitating prostitutes. She also became the executive chairperson of the Child Survival and Development Foundation in Zimbabwe.
On the other hand, Grace has also taken to charity helping the underprivileged, notably the handicapped and orphaned.
Dongo, who hoped to oppose President Robert Mugabe in the 1996 presidential elections but did not meet the minimum age requirement of 40 years, refused to draw parallels between the two women. But she says she was mentored in politics by Sally.
Dongo, who blames Mugabe for the country’s social-political and economic mess, claims if Sally was alive today, Zimbabwe would not have descended into the present hardships.
“That woman mentored me,” she said.
“I stayed with her and learnt from her. She trusted me.
“I am telling you, if she was to come back today, she would shed tears.
“She would be saddened by the fact that this is not what she fought for.
“People are busy lying to Bob, creating empires at the expense of the people. People are suffering in this country.”
Mugabe is 90. His second wife, Grace, is 49.-Daily News