The government has been taken to task over reports that president Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace blew millions of dollars in state funds while on a nationwide tour to bolster her presidential bid in late 2015.
Bulawayo South member of parliament Eddie Cross has now pointedly asked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa to state in writing “whether the recent tours to the provinces by the First Lady were catered for by the state, and if so to state the expenditure incurred and also if the Minister could report to the House the extent and justification of such expenditure”.
Deputy industry and commerce minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa who answered most questions for Chinamasa in the National Assembly last week said she did not have the answer for that particular question. The government has previously refused to answer questions about abuse of state funds by Mugabe and his family.
“I seek leave of the House for a written response to this question, hence I ask for deferment,” Mabuwa said.
Grace Mugabe went on a whirlwind tour of the country’s provinces in her campaign to discredit vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa and failed attempt to take over his position. Her original plan was to have provincial leaders pass a ‘no confidence’ vote on the vice president, who assumed the position in December 2014 when the previous holder of the post Joice Mujuru was sacked following another of Grace Mugabe’s machinations. The campaign fell flat after Mnangagwa’s powerful supporters, including military and intelligence officials threatened violence against the first lady’s backers.
Grace Mugabe, who was accompanied by vice president Phelekezela Mphoko and several ministers, used army and air force helicopters and government motorcades for the trips. Her entourage also stayed in plush hotels and lodges, enjoying star treatment at state expense.
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