A CONSIGNMENT of maize “donated” to Manicaland province by First Lady Grace Mugabe during her visit to Chimanimani district last month has reportedly vanished after being used in the ongoing factional fights in the ruling party, it has emerged.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Impeccable sources told NewsDay that the maize, which had been kept at the local Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depot since it was donated, was last week “withdrawn” for use in the Zanu PF restructuring exercise.
“The First Lady donated a sizeable quantity of maize to be given to people in the southern districts of the province, in particular Chimanimani and Chipinge. However, politicians have taken advantage and now use it as a campaign tool in the ongoing Zanu PF restructuring exercise,” NewsDay heard.
It is understood that last week during the restructuring in Chimanimani, a faction of the party that includes acting provincial chairperson and Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s wife, Letina, and youth leader Mubuso Chinguno, ordered the GMB depot manager to surrender an unknown quantity of maize.
“They were losing the restructuring exercise, but then demanded reruns in most of the wards in Chimanimani district. At Nyanyadzi and Mhandarume, in particular, the maize was given to Zanu PF members only who had gathered for the internal process,” another source said.
“Mubuso is lobbying for Letina to be MP for Chimanimani West. At one time, they stopped the process after realising they would not be able to control the large number of people who had turned out on October 17. The process was postponed again on the 22nd before they finally agreed to hold it on the 24th. They claimed Zanu PF had been infiltrated by MDC-T people who wanted to influence the exercise.”
Contacted for comment, Letina, a senior member of the Zanu PF Women’s League, was edgy.
“I can confirm that, indeed, the First Lady donated maize and the consignment was dispatched to GMB for safekeeping. So you can check with management there to find out what happened to the maize. It would be improper for me to comment on how the maize was distributed,” she said.
“I must also say, however, there is a lot of bad politicking going on and some people are just peddling nonsense to tarnish my image.”
Quizzed on whether she had been at a distribution point, Letina refused to answer. “Check for the records with the GMB. People will say a lot of things, but you can never put a good person down,” she said.
Letina is reportedly eyeing Chimanimani West constituency, currently held by fired former Energy deputy minister Munacho Mutezo.
Mutezo was not available for comment yesterday.
Chinguno confirmed the maize was distributed last week “in all wards, but no politician was part of the programme”.
“We were nowhere near any of the distribution points. It is true, however, that the Zanu PF restructuring exercise has been going on. Manicaland has done, I think, almost 90%, but the maize distribution was a government programme handled specifically by provincial and district administrators,” he said.
Officials at GMB had not responded to questions from NewDay at the time of going to print.
Grace has been doling out a lot of goodies as well as equipment from a government facility reportedly funded by Brazil.