Zimbabwe marchers back embattled first lady

Ruling-party supporters stage Harare protest over assault allegations against Grace Mugabe

Zimbabwe marchers back embattled first lady

World Bulletin / News Desk

Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe -- recently accused of assaulting a young woman in South Africa -- was again the center of attention on Wednesday as hundreds marched in support of President Robert Mugabe’s wife.

Supporters of Mugabe’s ZANU PF ruling party took to the streets of the capital Harare in solidarity with Grace Mugabe. However, many other citizens remain critical of the first lady, who did not attend Wednesday's demonstration.

Grace Mugabe is accused assaulting 20-year-old South African model Gabriella Engels on Aug. 13 in a Johannesburg hotel room, reportedly beating the young woman with an extension cord.

Mugabe was later granted diplomatic immunity by the South African authorities and allowed to fly back to Zimbabwe.

ZANU PF supporters in Harare carried placards reading: “Engels Is Not An Angel”; “We Stand By Our Mother Dr. Grace” and; “Dr. Grace You Are Our Hero.”

“They might try to tarnish your image but we, as war veterans, support you,” Minister Mandiitawepi Chimene said, denouncing Gabriella Engels and AfriForum, a South African NGO which is bringing legal action against Grace Mugabe.

“As youths we follow our mother’s footsteps, who has every right to discipline anyone,” ZANU PF youth leader Kudzanayi Chipanga told ruling-party supporters.

However, ordinary citizens were also busy, mocking Grace Mugabe on social media.

Some pictures circulating depict Grace -- with an extension cord -- as a new trainer for high-profile mixed martial artist Conor McGregor. Another purports to show the first lady with an extension cord around her neck, wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan: ‘Bouncer for Hire.’

“ZANU PF supporters have a lack of understanding of the impact of Grace’s actions,” 34-year-old Harare resident, Owen Dhliwayo, told Anadolu Agency.

Claris Madhuku said: “We simply have leaders with a bad culture of impunity and misplaced priorities.”

As Grace Mugabe’s supporters marched with a police escort, at the South African embassy, officers dispersed other campaigners as they tried hand over a letter of apology on behalf of the first lady.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Ağustos 2017, 10:15