Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
THE Government has distanced itself from a so-called prayer meeting organised by expelled members of the Zanu-PF Youth League in Harare yesterday purportedly to support Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is not feeling well.
VP Mnangagwa is currently in South Africa where he is receiving treatment.
His doctors suspected that he could have taken stale food.
The so-called prayer meeting, which was poorly organised and sparsely attended, had no blessings from the Government — let alone the VP’s family.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe said the Government was not aware of the motive behind the gathering.
“That gathering has absolutely nothing to do with the Government. We are not aware of it,” he said.
“The Office of (the) Vice President Mnangagwa dissociated with it and the Office of the President and Cabinet is not aware of it. It is not a Government programme. We don’t know who those people are.”
Dr Mushohwe continued: “We don’t know why of all the things they want to have a prayer session for VP Mnangagwa as if he is the first person to fall sick in this country. Whatever motive behind that we don’t know and I don’t know if those people also got clearance from the police. All what I can say is that Government is not aware of that gathering and is not part to it.”
Although the gathering was presumably a prayer meeting, its organisers acted in a criminal way from the beginning after they tricked Zesa officials to connect electricity to their public address system on the pretext that it was a Government programme.
They took advantage of a stage that was being erected on the same venue for today’s Heroes’ gala to lie to Zesa officials that their gathering was a government programme. Their lies were exposed when Dr Anywhere Mutambudzi (Director, Urban Communications) from the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, arrived at the venue to assess progress on the erection of the stage for the gala.
He discovered that the electricity they had booked for the gala was already being used for the so-called prayer meeting.
Dr Mutambudzi asked the organisers to disconnect the power since it was not being used for its intended purpose but some of the youths turned violent.
They started shouting that they were hosting an event for the Vice President to which Dr Mutambudzi responded saying all events involving the Vice President were organised through Government structures which he was a part of.
Dr Mutambudzi said he was going to report the matter to the police after which the gathering was aborted.
A source from VP Mnangagwa’s Office yesterday said: “You should ask yourself why these people are crying more than the bereaved. They were not there when the VP got ill and they don’t know all the suffering he went through but all of a sudden they are at the forefront of organising what they are calling a prayer meeting. To serve whose interests?
“They are really not pained by the VP’s condition but they are opportunists who are trying to exploit this unfortunate incident to garner some political mileage. If there is anything involving the name of the VP, there are official channels to handle that. As an office we are not aware of that.”
Some of the notable personalities at the gathering included Zanu-PF expelled members Messrs Godwin Gomwe, Vengai Musengi, Godfrey Tsenengamu and Lewis Matutu.