HARARE – With the furore surrounding her much publicised marriage to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai still fresh, Elizabeth Macheka has wasted no time thrusting herself back into the limelight.
Stunningly gorgeous, one would be forgiven for thinking she is the type for beauty spars and top restaurants.
How looks can be deceiving.
In a very short stint, the 35-year-old daughter of a long-serving senior Zanu PF official has poked the beast right in the belly as she takes the political system head on.
For this mission, Elizabeth has chosen one of the most emotive judicial and political issues to grip the nation in recent years.
On the 19th of September, four days after her marriage to Tsvangirai , Elizabeth arrived with a group of MDC officials in tow at the High Court where 29 party activists were on trial for the murder of a police inspector in May last year.
Henceforth, the Prime Minister’s beauty rolled out a political gamesmanship she hopes could overshadow her husband’s raging love scandals.
Incarcerated MDC youth assembly president Solomon Madzore and his group were seemingly neglected as their case dragged for over a year.
Very few senior party officials bothered to attend their court sessions or visit them in jail.
Until, of course, Elizabeth appeared on the scene.
Suddenly, Madzore and his mates are back in the limelight with top MDC officials tripping over each other to be associated with Elizabeth’s public relations masterstroke.
Cabinet ministers Nelson Chamisa (Information Technology Minister), Sekai Holland (National Healing) and others made a beeline to the High Court in a hitherto unseen show of support.
They were probably helping “Mother”, as Elizabeth is now referred to in MDC circles, find her way.
But cynics were quick to read bootlicking.
More like the way grown up men fawn at the presence of First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
Who can blame them?
It is much easier to win the heart of the dear leader once one gets close to “Mother”.
That lesson has not been missed in MDC circles and since she is a new one — the earlier the better.
After the gruelling High Court attendance, the soft touch followed.
Last weekend, Elizabeth appeared at the signing ceremony of a $233 000 grant from the Japanese government to Bulawayo based King George VI school of the disabled.
Students at the school live with a whole range of disabilities and many of them are orphans or come from families with low to nil regular incomes.
Photos of Elizabeth, the Chitungwiza township girl, playing Marimba with some of the children instantly hit the pages.
Another four days later, the Prime Minister’s beauty was back in the thick of things. She was again viciously poking in the belly of Zanu PF, her husband’s fierce rivals but her father’s comrades.
This time, ugly scenes followed.
Again with several ministers and more top officials in tow, Elizabeth chose to follow up her High Court attendance with a visit to Zimbabwe’s most notorious jail, Chikurubi.
This is where Madzore and colleagues, who now call themselves the “Innocent 29” have been languishing for over a year.
Looking stunning as usual, she was splendid in trendy platform heels, expensive cameo pantyhose and a matching monochrome wrap-over subtle coloured dress.
And she did better than expected.
Jail officers forced her to endure a two hour ordeal as they refused her permission to enter the maximum prison where she wanted to meet the jailed activists and dish some goodies.
When they did finally gave her access, the prison officers told her no cars were allowed in.
“I will walk, I do not need to be treated as a government official because I am not the PM,” she said, swapping her heels for flat shoes that would have allowed to walk the two kilometre stretch with relative ease.
With that she forced prison officers to back down, allowing the convoy of two sleek Jeep Cherokees and several other smaller cars.
Not only did she manage to uplift the inmates’ morale — who for so long might not have seen such beauty at close range-Elizabeth curved a plan of defiance that could yet prove one of Tsvangirai’s greatest assets in time to come.
“I will be back,” said Elizabeth, as she left the jail premises.