ZIMBABWE – First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday urged the Government and zanu-pf officials to pull up their socks and improve the living conditions of people in line with the election promises made during the 2013 harmonised elections.
Speaking during her rally to connect with the people in Mbare, Harare, yesterday, Amai Mugabe bemoaned the squalid conditions in which most people in this historic suburb lived in.
Speaking on the backdrop of the dilapidated hostels that were built for bachelors during the colonial but that now reportedly hold up to 15 family members in a room, the First Lady condemned the dilapidated, filthy and over-crowded hostels as she called on Government to reintroduce council-led housing provision to end the scourge of thieving land barons.
“When elected sometimes we spend time doing silly things, letting people down,” she said. “People invest their confidence in us and voted for us as Zanu-PF. They have got their wishes, which they need to be fulfilled. Look at their houses, they are not fit for human habitation. We should be sitting down and looking at ways of improving their conditions.”
The people occupying hostels in Mbare said they used communal toilets whose flushing system did not work while some bathrooms double as kitchens and have laundry sinks.
Amai Mugabe said, Mbare, the ceremonial home of the liberation struggle, deserved better.
“Tinofanira kugara tichiziva kuti Mbare inzvimbo yakakosha,” she said. “We can’t talk about the liberation history without mentioning Mbare. Every national hero passes through Stodart Hall in Mbare showing the significance of area. ”
Amai Mugabe said there was need for Government and local authorities to return their mandate of parcelling out land as a way of protecting desperate home seekers from being duped by land barons.
“Land barons are cheating people because they are desperate. They end up being duped yet their wish is simply to have decent accommodation,” the First Lady said.
“Long back we used to come at council offices and Government for stands. It was systematic without being robbed. Government and council have got a mandate to build houses for the people and let us revert to that old system because people have suffered. They should stop parcelling out land to the barons. Let us also work on building decent apartments for the people such that they stay comfortably.”
Government, through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, has since launched an ambitious Home Ownership Scheme that seeks to build over 300 000 houses before 2018.
Amai Mugabe urged journalists to centre their reportage on humanitarian issues like the living conditions in Mbare rather than concentrating on speculations.
“Give us pressure by writing, taking photographs about things like these we are witnessing in Mbare,” she said.
“I was recently in China at their invitation. They wanted to show us how they do things but I heard they said I went there to be given some money. I was not given a dollar… You (journalists) cannot do without me. I am back! If am not there, they intensify their reportage because they will be missing me.”
She jokingly said she should have taken a few reporters from the private media when she recently went for the China trip for them to see the reason for her mission.
Since taking over as Zanu-PF Women’s Affairs secretary, the private media has been launching a barrage of attacks on the person of the First Lady seeking to de-legitimise her role in national politics.
Meanwhile, Amai Mugabe appealed to the people of Mbare to forgive their legislator Cde Tendai Savanhu, who was suspended from the party for five years.
He was part of sacked former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s putchist cabal that sought to topple President Mugabe ahead of the 6th Zanu-PF Congress last December.
However, the appeal was met with jeers from the crowd, which accused Cde Savanhu of being corrupt and a sell-out.
Said Amai Mugabe: “I appeal to you the people of Mbare to forgive him. Munozviziva kuti vari pasi peshamhu but he has learnt a lesson. But he knew I was coming and he came to be with us. Let’s have forgiving hearts and if he did wrong, I think he now has
learnt a lesson. It’s not good to chase everyone away from Zanu-PF. We must reconcile.”