Zim opposition may take Grace Mugabe to court over Brazil loan

2015-10-19 16:16
Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

Grace Mugabe. (File: AP)

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Harare – Zimbabwe's opposition parties are reportedly mulling a collective court action against First Lady Grace Mugabe, whom they accuse of abusing a $98m agricultural equipment loan facility secured from Brazil under the Zimbabwe-Brazil More Food for Africa Programme.

Zimbabwean media reports alleged that Grace was using the publicly underwritten loan for her own political benefit, as the bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe intensified within the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Grace, according to Zimbabwe Independent, has in the past weeks donated agricultural equipment sourced under the Brazil loan facility as she embarked on a controversial campaign trail which sources said was meant to test the "succession waters" ahead of the 2018 general election.

"Grace is donating state equipment to her political party members at rallies, which is wrong and even unlawful," a senior government official was quoted as saying.

Although she denied she habours presidential ambitions, analysts believe Grace may be positioning herself to take over power when her husband dies.

Court action

Brazil, the report said, supplied Zimbabwe with 320 tractors, 450 disc harrows, 310 planters, 100 fertiliser spreaders and 6 650 knapsack sprayers valued at US$38.6m under the first phase of the $98m facility commissioned by Mugabe in May.

More agricultural equipment was expected under the second and third phases which would be valued at $30m each.

Opposition parties described as "criminal" the decision by Grace to use a facility meant to benefit all Zimbabweans for partisan political purposes, a New Zimbabwe.com report said.

The parties said they were actively exploring the possibility of a collective court action to stop the First Lady's "illegal and very criminal" vote buying campaign using a state debt which ordinary Zimbabweans would have to repay, the report said.

Although elections are still three years away, the 91-year-old president's wife has been holding a series of rallies at which she has also made handsome donations of food, clothes and thousands of pairs of shoes.

Eyebrows have been raised at the fact that she travelled in the presidential helicopter.

Grace entered into mainstream politics last year after she was confirmed as the women's league boss in the ruling Zanu-PF politburo.

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  grace mugabe  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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