First lady, criticized for lavish lifestyle, skips meals in solidarity with Zimbabwe's hungry

Zimbabwe's first lady, repeatedly criticized for her lavish shopping sprees, told her supporters that she now skips meals in solidarity with thousands of Zimbabweans facing hunger.

At a rally held in a poor neighborhood in the capital Harare, Grace Mugabe told supporters on Thursday she was skipping some of her meals to empathize with Zimbabweans who could only afford to eat once a day.

In an open field, Mugabe assured supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party that they would have a good Christmas because she brought "goodies" — tons of maize and rice. Mugabe donates food, clothes, and government-funded tractors at her rallies.

The World Food Program in August said 1. 5 million Zimbabweans needed food assistance because of recurring droughts.

Mugabe, 50, is married to Zimbabwe's 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe.