If you thought Grace Mugabe, the fiery and sometimes strange First Lady of Zimbabwe, was mellowing down in her 50th year of life, it may be a little too early to make your bets.
During a rally on Saturday in Mberenga, southern Zimbabwe, she was quoted by the private NewsDay as attributing some cases of rape to the prevalence of mini-skirts.
“If you walk around wearing mini skirts displaying your thighs and inviting men to drool over you, then you want to complain when you have been raped?” she was reported as saying in local media, “That is unfortunate because it will be your fault.”
Mrs Mugabe urged women to dress more conservatively by wearing long dresses and, rather ironically, trousers. She said mini-skirts were a direct result of a moral deterioration befalling the nation.
One should wonder if she understands the danger in her words, especially considering that this time last year, a group of women in Kenya had marched for their right to dress as they please – without fear of rape or slut-shaming – under the hashtag #MyDressMyChoice. This was in the wake of the public shaming of a woman who was dressed in a short skirt.
And that’s not all.
NewZimbabwe recently reported that, during the same rally, the First Lady insisted that her 91 year-old husband is not about to step down despite recent reports of poor health, stumbles at public gatherings and absent-mindedly reading incorrect speeches.
“We are going to create a special wheelchair for President Mugabe until he rules to 100 years because that is what we want,” she said, “That is the people’s choice. We want a leader that respects us,” said Grace.
Mrs Mugabe has often been suggested as President Mugabe’s strongest possible successor to the highest office in the country. But for all we know, she could be running things already.