Zanu-PF Women’s League Secretary, First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe this afternoon addresses thousands of party supporters at St Johns Primary School, near Gaza in Buhera North to kickstart the League’s 2018 campaign programme (updated).
UPDATES: Simiso Mlevu, Tendai Mugabe. PHOTOGRAPHER: Wilson Kakurira: EDITOR: Happiness Chikwanha
11:07 – The rally is part of Women’s League’s mobilisation programme in preparation for the 2018 harmonised elections.
11:10 – Amai Mugabe has arrived at St Johns Primary School and is welcomed by senior party officials from Manicaland Province. Some of the senior party officials present here are National Political Commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, Dr Joseph Made, Dr Samuel Undenge, Cde Kudzi Chipanga and Dr Chris Mushohwe.
11: 16 – The First Lady is now in a briefing with the party’s Manicaland leadership. Thereafter she will address multitudes who braved threatening rains, coming to the rally.
11:38 – Zanu-PF believes “unity of purpose” and hard work will be key in winning the hearts of the electorate before the 2018 harmonised elections. The party’s national secretary for transport and welfare, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri asserted this while addressing the party’s Manicaland Provincial Co-ordinating Committee meeting at Mutare Polytechnic recently. Therefore the address today by First lady Amai Grace Mugabe is part of this process as the revolutionary party prepares to defend the national turf.
11:57 – Although Zanu-PF lost the Norton by-election to Mr Temba Mliswa in October 2016, the party came back with a bang in 2017 with its candidate, Cde Beauty Chibaya winning the Bikita West by-election previously held by jailed Dr Munyaradzi Kereke.
12:03 – The briefing is over here and Amai Mugabe is moving around greeting party supporters
12:07 – Led by the League’s ecretary for the Commissariat Cde Mabel Chinomona Zanu PF Women’s League members break into song, ‘Amai Vauya Mai Mwana’ . . . before Makumbe High School leads the singing of the National Anthem.
12:10 – It is time for introductions here and leading the pack is Zanu-PF Manicaland Youth League Chairperson, Mbuso Chinguno. He is followed by Women’s League representative.
12:18 – Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairman, Dr Undenge takes over from Cde Kenneth Saruchera who has been Director Ceremonies since the programme started.
12: 28 – Senior Party officials who include Cdes Chipanga, Zhuwao, Mushohwe, Chimene, Madzongwe, Muchinguri and Dr Made take turns to greet party supporters and chant the slogan.
12:30 – Introducing Cde Muchinguri, Kasukuwere says she is the minister in charge of rains and has helped in stopping cyclone Dineo.
12:34 – There are light intermittent showers which are threatening to disrupt the rally but party supporters have shown stoic determination. They have stayed put.
12:35 – Dr Undenge is now updating the rally of progress and developments in the province.
12:37 – “Amai, we promise that we will retain all the seats here in Manicaland. We have also resolved that we will stand by our candidate, President Mugabe during 2018 elections.
12:43 – Dr Undenge says he doesn’t have much to say but just rose to welcome Amai Mugabe.
12:45 – Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Cde Mandiitawepi Chimene takes to the podium to give brief updates on developments in the province.
12:49 – Minister Chimene says Manicaland is a rich province and as such it should be the most developed.
12:50 – “We have lots of diamonds, and gold is like sand here. Where is all this going?”
12:51 – She also urges the people of Manicaland to research on crops suitable for their area. “Maize is not suitable for this area. Please take note.”
12:52 – She has lamented corrupt individuals saying these are affecting smooth operations of the party.
12:54 – Cde Chimene thanks the First Lady for rice donated to party supporters during the festive season but castigates some legislators whom she has accused of not being “user friendly.”
12:57 – “We will give you a comprehensive report of what happened with regards distribution of food you donated to the people,” says Cde Chimene.
1305 – Cde Chimene introduces an orphaned girl child who passed her ordinary level with 9 As. She tells Amai Mugabe that the girl has failed to proceed to A level because of lack of resources and requests that she bails the situation.
13:14 – Cde Kasukuwere rises to introduce Amai Mugabe who is in Buhera today as party of Women’s League mobilisation programme in preparation for 2018 elections.
13:15 – Cde Kasukuwere has implored Zanu PF MPs to work hard for the people saying there will be no favours when it comes to 2018.
13:22 – Cde Kasukuwere invites Amai Mugabe to address the gathering. As she take to the podium, Women’s League led by Cde Sarah Mahoka burst into song and dance.
AMAI GRACE MUGABE’S ADDRESS
13:26 – Amai Mugabe pays tribute to living and fallen liberation war heroes for ultimate sacrifices paid to liberate the country.
13:27 – She says there are countries which are imploring people to despise the history of this country.
13;30 – The First Lady has encouraged people to emulate Zanu-PF Women’s League and stay united.
13:33 – “Musanyeperwe, as women, we are united. Of course there are divisive elements but we have resolved to approach and deal with rumour mongers.
13:36 – She castigates Joice Mujuru for leading astray some party members
13:42 – “Let me tell you ladies, if anyone calls you queen bee, please be angry.” She says queen bee is that bee insect which mates with almost every male in the beehive
13:43 – Amai Mugabe says people thought she was being mean with the truth when she said Mai Mujuru was incompetent.
13:45 – “Now you see for yourself. She was fired for incompetence. We know she is claiming to have resigned but it’s not true. Some of us saw the letter, she was fired.
13:50 – She has urged party members to wait for the right time when a successor will be chosen.
13:51– “Leaders are chosen by God. Please do not use covert means to be leaders,” she said assuring Cde William Mutomba (Buhera North) that he is going to win 2018 elections. The First Lady says President Mugabe is a revered leader across the globe and Zimbabweans are lucky to have him.
13:56 – She has urged the party to appreciate the role of the masses in ensuring the continued governance of the country.
“I agree with Cde Chimene, that Manicaland is blessed with abundant minerals and as such, value addition must be done here”
Amai Mugabe says Zanu PF is a brand known all over the world.
“We are the ruling party here and we are calling the shots,” she says breaking into song, Regai Vatonge Baba
14:05 – The First Lady has called for an end to factionalism within the party arguing that it is destroying the party.
“Those who are promoting factionalism must STOP IT,” she says adding that some of the factionalists are not even magnanimous leaders.
“There are some people who know they do not have leadership qualities and do not qualify to lead the party, as such, those people want to destroy the party.”
14:13 – Amai Mugabe says it defeats logic that some people who have been in government with President Mugabe since 1980 are saying he has over-stayed in power when those criticizing have also been there since 1980.
14:19 – Amai Mugabe says ministers are presidential appointees and should desist from engaging in corrupt activities for self-enrichment.
14-29 – The First Lady says she has great respect for teachers and wishes they could be better remunerated. “We all passed through the hands of teachers. Even President Mugabe, educated as he is, he acknowledges how the teaching profession moulded him to be who he is.”
“He did Law, Economics . . . but he always says teaching is the profession which moulded him,” says Amai Mugabe.
Kindly note that poor network is affecting smooth flow of updates. We are on our toes to remain online and deliver to you the proceedings in Buhera.
14:41 – Amai Mugabe says it is important to work towards accelerated implementation of ZimAsset saying there is need to reconstruct the roads.
“I came by road and I am not going to lie, the roads are bad. There is need for us to work on those roads and make sure we fulfil the Infrastructure Development cluster.”
14:42 – Turning to bond notes, Amai Mugabe castigates opposition elements like Mai Mujuru who was begging people to reject them. Mai Mujuru who had approached the courts seeking to stop the use of bond notes had her application thrown out.
14:44 – Amai Mugabe says bond notes are meant to plug cash leakages because there are people who have been importing goods, selling them to locals and taking the money away.
14:46 – She has also implored Zimbabweans to embrace plastic money saying it’s safe compared to moving around with wards of notes. “Come to think of it, as many as we are, we have different pin numbers. If a thief steals your ATM card, they cannot use it. The worst the thief can do is to throw the card away.”
14:54 – The First Lady says as a mother, whenever she visits, it is difficult to come empty handed.
“I have a good working relationship with most ministers and when they heard that I was coming here, they donated various assortments.
Minister Mandiwanzira donated 1000 t-shirts and laptops, Minister Chikwinya also donated some bales.
14:57 – The First Lady has donated thousands of tonnes of rice and maize, washing soap, bathing tablets and thousands of pairs of shoes.
15:05 – She has encouraged people to practise communal spirit in sharing the gifts. “Let us honour the elderly of our community by giving them first. Also, let us remember the vulnerable and orphans in our society.”
15:10 The First Lady thanks the Manicaland Provincial leadership for mobilising an estimated 10 000 people for the rally.
15:13 – Amai Mugabe concludes by saying President Mugabe has asked her to tell the people of Buhera that he will always stand by them.
15:16 – Chief Chimombe thanks Amai Mugabe for choosing Buhera, his area for her first rally of 2017.
15:18 – Chief Chimombe says young as he is, he feels honoured to host the First Lady.
15:20– He says at a local school, there is a newly constructed girls dormitory which has been named Grace Mugabe and requests Amai Mugabe to officially open it.
“The dormitory can not be officially opened by anyone else. May you spare 10 minutes of your time Amai and officially open the dormitory for us?”
15:21 – First Lady Amai Mugabe has gladly agreed to officially open the dormitory.
1528– Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri is giving vote of thanks here at St John’s Primary School.
15:33– She has apologised for the transgressions of the people of Manicaland who have earned themselves a status of being perennial defectors. “Simba Makoni, Didymus, Tekere (late), Dongo (Margaret), Tsvangirai, Sithole (Ndabaningi) and Muzorewa are all from Manicaland . . .
15:34 – “As you go back Amai, may you please be assured, and assure Baba VaMugabe, that Manicaland belongs to him.”
“Thank you very much Amai, amazing Grace,” says Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri.
15:49 -Meanwhile Amai Mugabe is being led to the new dormitory which she has to commission following Chief Chimombe’s request.
15:58 – Amai Mugabe is now at Hande Secondary School where she has to officially open the Grace Mugabe girls dormitory.
16:09 – She has encouraged young people to work hard, excel and also become entrepreneurs.
“You must not look forward to being an employee. Read hard and pass so that you become your own your employers.”
She has encouraged female students here at Hande Secondary to take good care of the hostel so that many generations to come after them will find it still habitable.
Amai Mugabe says from Grace Mugabe girls dormitory, she expects Doctors and Ministers to emerge.
16:13 – “People always thought men were more intelligent than women, but it’s actually otherwise. I want to tell you that as women, we can do it. Yes we can.”
The First Lady has encouraged students here at Hande Secondary School to respect teachers.
“Once you do that, be assured that the future is bright.”
16:30 – The First Lady has officially opened Dr Grace Mugabe girls dormitory at Hande Secondary School.
This brings to an end our live updates the proceedings here.