DESPITE claims that First Lady Grace Mugabe’s countrywide tour was sponsored by private businesspeople, details are beginning to emerge indicating that State and local authority properties could have been abused.
Grace and businessman Philip Chiyangwa claimed the First Lady’s meet-the-people tours were paid for by businesspeople and private companies that supported her.
However, Bulawayo City Council minutes have revealed how some people behind the rallies could have manipulated the government and councils countrywide to fund the tour, in what could be a tip of an iceberg.
An unnamed person reportedly called the city council and asked the local authority to provide a bus to carry people to the First Lady’s Bulawayo rally.
“The acting town clerk reported, October 14 2014, verbally that she had received a phone call requesting for a council school bus,” the minutes read.
“The school bus would be used to ferry residents to Grace Mugabe rally to be held on October 15.”
However, councillors strongly resisted attempts to use any school buses for political purposes, saying they should only be used for educational activities.
The councillors asked if the bus would be carrying school pupils to the rally and if not, this would be tantamount to abuse of council property. In this regard, the local authority roundly rejected the request for the bus.
“On this understanding it was accordingly resolved to recommend that the request for a council school bus to ferry residents to Grace Mugabe’s rally to be held in Bulawayo be not acceded to,” the local authority resolved.
Mystery has surrounded the source of funds for Grace’s rallies.
Asked then who was funding Grace’s rallies, presidential spokesperson George Charamba said the First Lady was a woman of means, with various sources of income. Charamba said “not a single cent” had come from government coffers.
Grace, on the other hand, seemed to back Chiyangwa’s assertion that a number of businesspeople were backing her rallies.