In a usual sign of solidarity and allegiance to President Family, the Zimbabwean ruling party Zanu-PF party rallied in Harare on Wednesday in support of the First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is facing charges in South Africa after her much publicized physical attacks on 20-year-old South African model Gabriella Engels.
The First Lady Grace Mugabe was strongly condemned by human rights groups, both in South Africa and Zimbabwe for the assaults and subsequent immunity the South African government granted to her.
Gabriella Engels claimed that Mrs. Mugabe had hit her with an extension cord in a hotel room near Johannesburg after the First Lady demanded the whereabouts of her children, but Ms. Engels insisted she did not know where they were. According to Ms. Engels, Mrs. Mugabe attacked her because the First Lady strongly believed her victim knew where her children were. Following the assault, Mrs. Grace Mugabe was summoned at the police station for questioning, but she ignored the invitation. While the South African police had issued a “red alert” at the country’s borders to prevent the Wife of President Robert Mugabe from leaving the country, the First Lady of Zimbabwe was granted immunity by the South African government – a move critically condemned by many human rights organisation, and equally being challenged by the lawyers of the victim.
Despite the condemnations and legal challenge of the immunity, the ruling party in Zimbabwe called for the rally, jointly organized by a war veterans’ group led by Mandiita Wepi Chimene, the Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister. The ruling party memo:
“Zanu-PF Harare provincial executive is hereby inviting all members of the party and all progressive Zimbabweans to attend a solidarity meeting of the First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe on Wednesday 30 August 2017 at Zanu-PF HQ
Masvingo provincial commissar, Jeppy Jaboon went further:
“This is an opportunity for us to prove our allegiance to our President VaMugabe (Mr. Mugabe). We are inviting everyone to this important meeting. We will be expecting each constituency to be represented, at least provide a bus.”
But the opposition parties in Zimbabwe are very critical of the rally and solidarity marches in support of the First Lady Grace Mugabe.
“Every sane person out there knows that Zimbabwe is run by a deeply entrenched and fascist Zanu-PF dictatorship fronted by Robert Mugabe. Instead of organizing a so-called solidarity rally in support of Grace Mugabe, Mandi Chimene and others of her should actually be organizing a demonstration against violence; particularly violence against women and the girl child,”
“The whole world knows that Grace Mugabe brutally assaulted a young woman aged 20, Gabriella Engels, in South Africa, a few weeks ago. Grace is the aggressor and Engels is the victim. Where in the decent and normal world would you get a solidarity march being organized in support of a violent and aggressive bully? Chimene doesn’t sound like she is in control of her faculties.” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu lambasted.