via Grace knocks on doors, offers cash – New Zimbabwe 13/10/2015
MARONDERA: In another sign that Grace Mugabe has set her eyes on the 2018 presidential elections, the First Lady has embarked on a door-to-door campaign here where foot soldiers are taking down people’s names and offering them cash for income generating projects.
The campaign followed a high profile rally in Manicaland which was broadcast live on national television where she doled out goodies worth millions.
Another campaign stop is scheduled for Rushinga in Mt Darwin Wednesday, the political base of former vice president Joice Mujuru who was kicked out of Zanu PF and the government at Grace’s behest.
The Zanu PF Women’s League chairperson denies any interest in succeeding her 91-year-old husband but she continues to campaign around the country with big name backers in the ruling party coming up with the slogan ‘munhu wese kuna amai’ (everyone behind the First Lady) in a development that has rattled rival aspirants to the presidency.
NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday witnessed a team of Zanu PF members clad in Grace’s T-shirts, visiting each household in the high density suburb of Dombotombo in Marondera.
They claimed that they had been engaged by the First Lady to ask residents to identify income generating projects they wanted to embark on.
There was a hive of activity in the poverty stricken suburb as residents, mainly women could not hide their joy at the prospect of receiving money for projects at a time when over
90 percent of the working population is unemployed and many have turned to vending and other informal activities in order to survive.
One member of the Zanu PF mobilisation team said the exercise started last week adding it was a national programme being initiated by Grace to “protect Zimbabweans against sanctions”.
He however could not say when the funding would be availed.
The team was carrying simple questioners, which captured the name, address, age, sex, ID number, ward and what type of business the respondent was interested in.
NewZimbabwe.com took a quick look at what had been captured and most of the respondents showed an interest in embarking on small projects such a peanut butter making, dressmaking, poultry, cross border trade, carpentry and welding.
“Tose kuna Dr. Amai. Amai ndizvo,” some of the women who had registered chanted the slogan in which everyone in the faction ridden Zanu PF is urged to rally behind Grace.
However, some of the residents were sceptical on the sincerity of the programme as they queried where Grace was getting the funds when the government was failing to fund most of its programmes.
“Remember that during the hyper-inflation era, (Gideon) Gono (the then Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor) also had a programme called Bacossi, which he promised to give people food hampers but how many of you benefitted after submitting your names for the programme?” a man who refused to register for the programme asked his neighbours.
Bacossi was the National Basic Commodities Supply Enhancement Programme launched by Gono in 2008 under which rural and urban dwellers were supposed to receive groceries at heavily subsidised prices but it failed to take-off.
Last week at a Zanu PF rally in Chimanimani, Grace splashed millions of dollars by donating various goods to party supporters where all the local chiefs received suits.
It remains unclear where funding for the donations is coming from when the government is failing to pay its civil servants and feed millions of people who are facing starvation due to the drought and a falling economy.