RECENT revelations by the Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa that the State financed First Lady, Grace Mugabe’s “Meet the People” rallies make sad reading.
Minister Chinamasa told Parliament on Wednesday May 4, 2016 that the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) financed the First Lady’s rallies.
As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CIZC), we are deeply concerned over the continued plunder of State resources by individuals seeking to pursue personal political interests in the guise of government assistance programmes.
To us as CIZC, the First Lady’s rallies were solely aimed at entrenching her political position within the ruling party Zanu (PF) through attacking her perceived and known opponents in public and for the cash strapped government to bankroll such events is something that is totally unacceptable.
We are further worried that Minister Chinamasa’s revelations are coming in the wake of the Auditor General’s report which highlighted massive plunder and misuse of resources by the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC).
The move by government to bankroll the First Lady’s rallies is certainly a case of misplaced priorities which comes at a time President Robert Mugabe has declared a state of emergency to feed more than 3 million Zimbabweans who are in urgent need of food aid.
Also, the government has been struggling to pay civil servants on time yet millions of dollars are unnecessarily spent to bankroll political activities of individuals in the guise of government assistance programmes.
It is disheartening, to say the least that the government has paid a blind eye to the plight of impoverished Zimbabweans by continuously bleeding State coffers for purposes that serve the individual interests of politicians while further worsening poverty levels among ordinary Zimbabweans.
The First Lady’s rallies were no doubt Zanu (PF) events where only Zanu (PF) supporters benefitted from the goodies and farming equipment she donated hence government cannot be seen to be bankrolling such events.
The First Lady and Zanu (PF) must prove their commitment to improving the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans by putting the interests of the people first rather than blowing government money on selfish personal agendas.
CIZC also implores the government to set its priorities right when it comes to the spending of government income.