HomeNewsMpofu defends Grace Mugabe posters on Zupco buses

Mpofu defends Grace Mugabe posters on Zupco buses

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TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu on Wednesday defended the pasting of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s pictures on the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) buses, saying advertisers were free to place their adverts where they saw fit, including on parastatals’ property without government interference.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

Photo by Benson Dube
Photo by Benson Dube

Zupco buses have been emblazoned with pictures of the First Lady and supporting political campaign messages ever since she was nominated to lead the Zanu PF Women’s League.

National Assembly MP for Glen View North Fani Mungami (MDC-T) asked Mpofu during debate in Parliament if it was government policy to allow private institutions or people or companies to advertise on public institutions or transport operator.

“I want to ask the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development on whether it is now government policy to allow private institutions, people or companies to advertise on public institutions or transport operators?

“I will give an example of Zupco . . . Zupco as our public transport company having the face of our First Lady, who is going to be our next first secretary of the Women’s League replacing Honourable (Oppah) Muchinguri . . . Is it now government policy to allow her face to be advertised on public transport?” Mungami asked.

In response, Mpofu said Zupco falls under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, but added: “Government has never interfered with advertisers, which of course they pay for, on any particular equipment, whether it is a vehicle or bus or anything,” said Mpofu.

“We do not discourage or encourage people to do that, but if that is a way of communicating a message, we are a free country and people are free to do so.”
Speaker Jacob Mudenda said supplementary questions could not arise, as Mpofu said questions on the subject should be directed to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

The questions in Parliament came after the MDC led by Welshman Ncube raised concerns over the large posters on Zupco buses.

MDC Matabeleland South chairperson Pilate Ndebele on Tuesday accused Zanu PF and the First Family of reducing the company into a party entity.

Ndebele called for the immediate removal of the Zanu PF logo and Grace’s posters from all Zupco buses saying they were not owned by the First Family.

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