By Tinomudaishe Chinyoka
It is a phenomenon well known throughout the world, and through the ages. A person imprisons you and mistreats you enough, and you develop a bond with them, one that looks irrational to the observers in light of your suffering and yet becomes deeply psychological the longer the captivity. The world of psychology calls it Stockholm Syndrome. I just call it kukangamwa chazuro ne hope.
In January 2015, long before it was fashionable to do so, I wrote on these very pages that someone needed to stop Grace Marufu before she had damned our party and our country. I referenced one of the icons of Shona literature and said that:
“Describing one of her sister-wives, a character in Ignatious Zvarevashe’s masterpiece ‘Kurauone’ says ‘ane gunyengu rakaita kuti nyimo dzifukwe‘. Like most things Shona, when something is said as well as this, it really does not translate”
That article remains to this day: https://nehandaradio.com/2015/01/25/somebody-stop-woman-damns-us/ Sadly, no one listened soon enough. I got into serious trouble with my party for this article, and a flurry of emails were exchanged to deal with me.
I don’t reference this in order to say “I told you so”, as that’s no different from fiddling while Rome burns and just not my thing. I recall this article because this week, and in fact ever since Mugabe thankfully finally deprived us of his company, we have witnessed a most shocking narrative in terms of which Grace has been clothed with the gowns of a poor grieving widow. Vanhu! Mune gunyengu rakaita kuti nyimo dzifukwe!
Grace Marufu, whose greed saw her steal from rich and poor alike, is no victim. Grace Marufu, whose greed saw her coveting a dam even, is not a poor widow. Grace Marufu is the one who diverted a multi-million Chinese “donation” (they clearly got something in return, there is no such thing as a free lunch in this world) to the country for an orphanage into a fee paying exclusive school that she owns, is not a “poor” widow.
Grace Marufu burnt people’s homes at Manzou Farm and evicted villagers to make way for herself and some wild animals. That is who she is, not a poor widow. I wrote about that too: https://nehandaradio.com/2015/01/14/earth/ but again, it wasn’t fashionable to stop Hurricane Grace then. Will l say I told you so? Too soon.
Grace Marufu and her “I found my husband poor and must work” philosophy saw her family grab up to 22 farms for themselves, not on offer letters but title deeds. They even managed to steal an airline, buying the three airplanes for Bona and her husband that we are now frantically trying to call national assets but which really aren’t, which explains why they are not here.
Grace Marufu’s list of victims extends beyond our borders. In South Africa she beat up a mother’s child with an electric cord because she deemed her unworthy to be in the company of her philandering sons. And, dare we forget how she treated the Lebanese businessman?
Speaking of which, how does anyone that could put up a down payment of USD1,4 million for a diamond ring ever be described as poor? How does a person who owns 22 farms become a victim just because some artisanal miners started panning for gold on one of the farms? Our chiefs in Mberengwa are having to fight off makorokoza from digging next to their verandahs, and no one goes around saying anything, but a few of the miners go into one of Grace’s 22 farms and the captured media claims that “ED has unleashed illegal miners” on Grace Mugabe.
Vanhu! You don’t seem to realise that ED is in a minority in Zanu PF in being charitable to this family after what they have done. To him! There are many of us who think that that poisoning in Bulawayo must have consequences, that the properties we own must be used for the benefit of party members, but we follow ED’s leadership on the matter because we trust his instincts. And yet ungrateful people remind us daily that they will use even his good deeds to vilify the man.
Let us not rewrite history. Grace Marufu is not a victim. Grace Marufu was the cancer that found our former President poor and largely incorruptible and turned his legacy into one of profligate greed and uncaring neglect of the poor at the expense of us all. Grace Marufu is the mother of unemployed youths who can boast about Rolex watches and buy top of the range motor vehicles and could walk into banks can leave with hundreds of thousands of dollars in “loans”.
Grace Marufu is the mother of boys who stayed months in the most exclusive of Dubai Hotels, cruising around in Ferraris, a jaunt that only ended when the Dubai authorities had had enough of their philandering ways and asked them to leave. Remember that diverted plane which spent days in Dubai and y’all were saying Mugabe is dying in Dubai? Nope. They had gone to extricate the louts from some legal jam, and were told not to leave without their spawn.
Grace Marufu is not a victim. She is the richest woman in Zimbabwe, is the mother of the richest children in Zimbabwe and owns houses in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Kwazulu Natal, Singapore and other places. She is the woman who could pay a “deposit” of one point four million United States Dollars, in cash, for a ring to put in her finger.
No matter how much people might want to blame Mnangagwa for something, anything, it is not mistreating Grace Marufu. Lord knows he would have an excuse: the “poor woman” wanted him dead! But, he has been nothing but gracious.
To the extent of giving her everything she has asked for during her husband’s lavish, state assisted funeral. Including properties that they simply expropriated from their own political party. To suggest then that Grace Marufu is a poor widow “being treated shamefully” by the government is nothing but an attempt to rewrite history.
Because, like it or not, and please remember in future that I told you so: Grace Marufu is not poor. And, while we are at it, she might not even be a widow.
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a Harare based lawyer and was a prominent former student leader at University of Zimbabwe