Grace, who is the Zanu PF Women’s League secretary, on Wednesday told party supporters at a campaign rally in Rushinga that the province was “a one-party State” and implored them to eject any known opposition activist from the area.
However, political analyst Takura Zhangazha yesterday described her remarks as an affront to principles of democracy.
“The First Lady was essentially trying to show (former Vice-President) Joice Mujuru that Mashonaland Central still supports not only Zanu PF, but her own political ambitions,” Zhangazha said.
“Calling the same province a one-party State is also akin to declaring that no opposition will be allowed to challenge Zanu PF’s political control of the same. It is the language of political exclusion and does not bode well for democracy in Zimbabwe.”
MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said political intimidation was deplorable and had no place in a democracy.
“Zanu PF uses intimidation, physical, emotional and psychological violence to commandeer people to attend its rallies as well as to vote for its candidates during elections,” Gutu said.
“For someone who is supposed to be a First Lady to utter such nonsense in public is actually a complete disgrace. This shows us the calibre of people who are now at the helm of Zanu PF. They are vile, violent and intolerant.
“This is why the MDC-T is strenuously pushing for electoral reforms to be adopted to enable free and fair elections to be held in Zimbabwe.”
People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume warned the First Lady to avoid politicking, but to provide alternatives to the folding economy.
“What the First Lady should worry about is the way the economy is performing. Soon she will say the whole country is no-go area. The people are tired and suffering,” he said.
“She wants to promote violence and intolerance, but the opposition is not the enemy. Poverty and mismanagement by her government are.”
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said no amount of intimidation would stop them from setting up structures in any part of the country.
“The MDC has functional structures in every corner of Mashonaland Central, meaning that her utterances were overtaken by events a long time ago,” he said.