THE family of the country’s first president, Canaan Banana, has bemoaned that his wife is being looked after by the British and not Zimbabwean government, although they say they have nothing against President Robert Mugabe.
In an interview with the Voice of America’s Studio 7, Banana’s son, Nathan said their mother was being looked after by the British system, although they expected that she should have been catered for by the Zimbabwean government as a former First Lady.
“There have been issues because of my dad’s controversial case, she was receiving threats left, right and centre and her family advised her that maybe it was best to leave Zimbabwe for a while and then see what happens,” he said.
“Since then she does not have the courage to go back.”
Nathan said there were a few “red tape” issues that saw his mother not enjoying her rights as former wife of the president.
Banana was the first president of Zimbabwe between 1980 and 1987, but his legacy was tarnished after he was convicted of sodomising his aide.
His wife sought asylum in Britain, but during the 2013 campaign, Mugabe said he was befuddled on why Banana’s widow would go into exile, as there was nothing he would do against her.
Nathan, who has been vocal about his father’s crimes and at one point insinuated that it could have been a political smear campaign, said Banana had told him a different story regarding what had happened.
“It was really, but we need to move on, sadly that particular issue tainted his record and a lot of good things that he did are now ignored,” he said.
“The Banana name has been kind of erased in the memory of Zimbabweans.”
Nathan said political decisions had been centralised, and this had stunted the country’s growth.
He said there was need to have national healing in the country, as there were a number of political wounds that needed closure. The former president’s son decried the partisanship of the police and the army.
Nathan described living at Zimbabwe House, during his father’s presidency, as akin to living in an executive prison.
He said while it was exciting at first, living at Zimbabwe House became difficult, as they were required to give two weeks’ notice before leaving the residence.