Marujata — the sharp-tongued “fierce lady” and the wicked witch whose infamy, poor grooming, insatiable hunger for power and whose unbridled ambition and uncouth etiquette brought her crushing down in a shameful political heap in the social and political dustbin of our history — is a shining example of how not to be a wife, how not to be a woman and how not to be a leader.
By Mathabelazitha/The Anvil
Grace Marufu’s epic transition from an enchanting, desirable, vivacious bombshell of youthful girl child promise to a powerful, yet angry, frightened yet frightful, disdainful, long-faced and foulmouthed queen was as swift as it was unpredictable. It left many, both inside and outside Zanu PF, inside and outside politics with an unmistakeable bitter taste.
She rose to be the anvil of evil, the stand-out protagonist in the Robert Mugabe epic tragedy, that steals the limelight from Bob himself. You will enjoy navigating the queer twists and turns of womanhood and power in my forthcoming bestseller!
Thus, I am intrigued by the flood of unparalleled consensus in the mainstream and social media as elsewhere in political discourse that suggest the disgraced Grace deserves all the shame that fate can generate for her. She is the first I know to have been banned for life by her party — and clearly many hearts out there may reserve some sympathy and empathy for the ultimate dictator himself, but no one attracts deep, collective anger and public censure and lampoonery as unanimously as Grace Mugabe. She plotted a coup and her own coup eclipsed her!
Not unexpectedly, the bitterest sentiments against Grace and the wildest celebrations of her disgraceful fall come from her own stable, the womenfolk! A seasoned lady veteran of the war pointed out with both boldness and timid caution in the wake of recent developments that Zimbabwe is a monumental gender hypocrite, in relation to Grace and every woman around this beautiful, soft coup!
The bitterest story of the liberation war that has never, and will probably never be told is the specific gendered experience of war that remains in the minds and hearts, and bodies of living and departed women war victims that were used, abused and dumped by the male politics of the war. A story for another day, but suffice to say Grace is a typical ambitious and strong-willed go-getter who was elected as a young female citizen to go into a male-infested political terrain. Unlike all your average male politicians who have deliberately poisoned the hard-hat political terrain, her path to leadership was necessarily a “by-all-means-necessary” strategy.
We have all bemoaned the deliberate alienation and exclusion of critical sections of our society, particularly the youth and the women in the politics and governance levers of our society, yet we have consciously and sub-consciously built male barricades that effectively forbid the “softer” groups of our society to enter and participate. Grace used and had to use the resources that were at her disposal, her husband included, to navigate her path to stardom.
There is absolutely no virtue in some and many of the perverted paths to power she chose, but were we to hold her male counterparts to the same political leadership standards, the same measures of personal integrity and exemplary footprint that we demand of Grace and every other ambitious woman leader out there, you would begin to see just how gendered and warped our political perspectives are.
The same can be said of Joice Mujuru. If this was about defending the war liberators that were being elbowed out of the errant actions of G40, Mujuru is one such undisputed war hero, spewed out unceremoniously like Emmerson Mnangagwa! Why is the wonderful corrective mechanism that is cleaning the party mess and restoring factory settings, unable to similarly restore Mujuru? If you bother to go and check, you may find that she happens to be a woman!
It is none of our business too, but we watched with interest when the one faction shovelled out Eunice Sandi Moyo on account of standing in the way of Amai! The double-edged sword rose to cut her off again with similar vigour and angst when it showed Amai the exit door. Sandi could never ascend beyond her male-given position in politics, if it was not at the behest of or for the benefit of the men around the table!
You have to love the endearing commentary around the supremely motherly Auxilia Mnangagwa — “knows her place, polished, subservient, calm… never says a word, the African woman, ooh! How she reminds me of warm Sally!”
Our ideal African woman can only be a beautiful appendage of her husband, a male trophy that completes him and makes him look great and more acceptable to us. She cannot be an independent hustler that seeks, like us, to bash and bulldoze her way to power and authority, or we will enlist every medium available to rubbish and demonise her brand to oblivion.
Marujata is gone, so is Joice and so is Eunice and Thokozani, who may never replace Morgan Tsvangirai. Every other woman leader remains a benevolent placeholder for some incompetent man out there. But the debate was long concluded that the tail end of all our misgovernance and mal-governance and the bitter receipt of our political garbage is a woman and a girl child!
At what point of our political development, do we intend to sincerely clean and level the playing field, to remove the entry barriers and allow an unapologetic entry of young people and women onto the political and economic decision pots of the country!
The coup swept away its cook. The women need their own female Chiwenga!