Grace Mugabe donation causes storm

MASVINGO — A donation by First Lady Grace Magabe in the run-up to the July 31 elections is giving Zanu PF officials in the province a headache some party supporters now complaining that they never benefited.

Tatenda Chitagu

The First Lady had pledged 50 tonnes of maize, 20 tonnes of sugar beans and 1 200 cases of cooking oil to underprivileged members of the community in drought-ravaged Masvingo.

She made the pledge during a Zanu PF star rally addressed by her husband President Robert Mugabe at Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo town.

The donations, according to Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke, came a few days after the rally, held on July 26.

But some Zanu PF supporters who did not receive the foodstuffs, said they suspected party officials had diverted the donation to their own use.

However, Matuke said not everyone could benefit from the donation because there were many needy people.

“The foodstuffs came I think three days after the pledge,” he said. “The same quantity came, even though not everyone would benefit.”

Zanu PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo recently attributed the party’s surprise victory in the harmonised elections to the donations made by Mugabe.

The donations were widely criticised by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC formation as a vote-buying gimmick.

Mugabe and his wife dished food stuffs in the form of mealie-meal, beans, cooking oil and salt to thousands of people before the polls.

Local authorities were also ordered to write off outstanding water bills by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, as the party moved to lure support.
Zanu PF won all the seats in Masvingo Province while Mugabe garnered 61% of the national vote.

Tsvangirai dropped a Constitutional Court challenge against the victory saying the country’s judges were compromised.

He had cited vote-buying as one of the reasons his rival’s victory should be set aside. Mugabe has insisted that he won the elections fairly.

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