Reports that a makeshift road in central Harare has been named after President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace provoked outrage among Zimbabweans on social media on Monday.
Grace Mugabe, 49, is expected to grab the limelight at the ruling Zanu-PF party congress, which begins on Thursday.
A green sign reading “Dr Grace Mugabe Way” marks one of a set of newly set-out “roads” on a dusty piece of land near Zanu-PF headquarters in the Zimbabwean capital, which is the venue of the congress.
Mugabe toured the area on Monday, state ZBC television reported. A “square” has been named “Robert Mugabe Square” after the longtime president.
White marquees have been erected at the site for the congress, which is expected to draw over 12 000 delegates. The authorities plan to eventually build a civic centre on the site.
Photos of the two signs elicited outrage and much online comment on Monday.
“Where is the council resolution for this?” said Twitter user @LiyaJemima.
User @MosiOaTunya said in a tweet: “I also need a road named after me. I’ll get my fake PhD soon.”
In the past two months, the First Lady has made a series of increasingly bitter verbal attacks on Vice President Joice Mujuru, who analysts say may lose her post at this congress.
Former typist and flea market dealer Grace has not hidden her own presidential ambitions, though at this point she is billed to be elected only as head of the powerful women’s league during the congress.
In September she was controversially awarded a doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe, less than three months after she was reported to have enrolled for the degree.