ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief Karikoga Kaseke yesterday said contrary to weekend State media reports where he was portrayed as having attempted to sabotage First Lady Grace Mugabe’s meeting with war veterans, he had actually mobilised transport for the former fighters to travel to Mazowe to meet her.
Kaseke told journalists in Harare that he chipped in and hired several commuter omnibuses to enable the war veterans he said he found stranded at Zanu PF Harare provincial offices to attend the meeting at the First Lady’s Mazowe Orphanage last Thursday.
He said among the stranded war veterans was their former leader Joseph Chinotimba.
The ZTA boss said he feared and respected the First Family so much and would not dare act in such a “treasonous way”.
“I want to be clear. I respect the First Family. I don’t just respect, I respect and fear the First Family,” he said.
“When I arrived there with my wife, we were told he [Chinotimba] had just left. I called him and asked where he was. When he said he had left the place, I questioned why he was leaving yet the comrades were stranded,” Kaseke said.
He said he then offered to find transport for the desperate war veterans and even visited Zupco bus depot pretending as if he “had a very important message from [Local Government] minister Ignatius Chombo”.
Kaseke said since it took time for all the buses to arrive, he went and organised, at his own expense, privately-owned kombis to ferry the war veterans to Mazowe.
“I instructed my wife to attend Amai’s rallies and make sure that when she is there, Amai [Grace] sees her. I told her that the only way Amai can see that she is there is by greeting her so that she sees you.”
Kaseke also defended Tourism minister Walter Mzembi from reports that he bought some youths beer to sabotage Grace’s rallies, saying “my minister is so much into the First Family”.
Kaseke has been under fire from some sections of the ruling party which accused him of telling the former fighters that the Mazowe meeting had been cancelled.
“This is the politics of today. If people pretend as if they love the First Lady and they see someone who wants to be closer to the First Lady, they deal with him. Amai is everyone’s Amai and I also want to have a stake. I am not a politician, but I know my position as a political appointment and I must play a role in the politics of this nation.”