THE Welshman Ncube-led MDC yesterday petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu and the Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo seeking the removal of the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s campaign posters from the publicly-owned Zupco buses.
MDC’s Matabeleland South chairperson Pilate Ndebele said it was wrong for Zanu PF to drag the public transport company into its internal party fights and campaigns.
Several Zupco buses now carry large separate posters of President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace.
Grace was recently nominated as the Zanu PF Women’s League designate boss, as well as into the party’s central committee, paving the way for her husband to appoint her to the powerful politburo, at the elective congress in December.
Ndebele said it was sad that Zanu PF had gone to the extent of personalising State property by reducing Zupco into party property.
He said pasting Grace and Mugabe’s posters on Zupco buses was a violation, abuse and undermining of State property.
“And now there seems to be failure to distinguish between government and the First Family,” Ndebele said.
“The wife of the President, Grace’s imagined or real rise to prominence within Zanu PF seems to be coming with a lot of expenses to the State.
“Her rise is of no concern, but what is worrying is when parastatals begin to be used to advance her interests.
“The pasting of her image on the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company buses raises a lot of questions and undesirable discord.”
Ndebele said Grace’s status as the First Lady “does not warrant this sort of pontification”.
“Instead, she has proved to be a liability on both international and local fronts,” he said.
Ndebele said in the international community, she was infamous for suppressing media, as she was captured attacking a Hong Kong-based media practitioner a few months ago.
“Locally, she is popular (sic) for land grabbing, lavish spending, while masses are languishing in dire poverty and lately her insults to those who liberated this country,” Ndebele said.
“It is, therefore, my belief and request as a citizen of Zimbabwe, that authorities should ensure the pulling down of
Grace’s portrait from State-owned transport service providers.”
He demanded to know if the First Lady, the First Family or Zanu PF were paying for the advertisements, indicating that Grace was not in government and it was improper to have her pictures on State property.
He suggested that only people like the late Vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Lookout Masuku and “all those national heroes who contributed immensely to the liberation of Zimbabwe deserved to have their faces on such State property”.
Mpofu recently defended the pasting of the First Lady’s pictures on Zupco buses, saying advertisers were free to place their adverts where they saw fit.