7 July 2012

Zimbabwe: PM Wife's Trip Cancelled

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Office yesterday failed to explain why the premier's wife Ms Elizabeth Macheka trip to India and South Africa was cancelled at the last minute.

Ms Macheka was supposed to visit the two countries on Thursday for a week-long private visit sponsored by the Government.

The trip was, however, cancelled under unclear circumstances.

Ms Macheka was spotted with her husband in Budiriro yesterday for the water conservation campaign launch.

According to documents in possession of The Herald, Ms Macheka was supposed to leave the country on Thursday returning on July 12.

It is understood that Ms Macheka wanted to use the Indian trip to buy the couple's jewellery and paraphernalia related to their wedding scheduled for September. PM Tsvangirai's spokesperson Mr Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday could not give a convincing answer on why the trip was cancelled.

He said the PM's Office was also seeking answers from this paper as to why Ms Macheka was in the country if there was a Cabinet Authority authorising the Indian trip.

"We never said she is going to India and it is you who said that. It's you who have a lot of questions to answer as to why she is around," said Mr Tamborinyoka.

"Our office is not going to be seduced to assist The Herald to clean its dirty pampers. The Herald has prepared its bed and it should lie on it."

Sources said the PM's Office was not in a position to explain reasons for the cancellation of the trip because the trip was uncalled for in the first place.

"They cannot explain that because the PM's wife is not entitled to such privileges. It was a matter of trying to arm-twist Government systems and you cannot expect them to confirm such unnecessary extravagance," said the source.

According to the application for a Cabinet Authority made by the PM's Office under the recommendation of PM's secretary Mr Ian Makone, the cost for Ms Macheka's trip was supposed to be met by Government (see scanned copy of the application).


The application made it clear that Ms Macheka was travelling on the PM's duties. This is despite the fact that the PM's official duties are carried out by civil servants. Ms Macheka was expected to travel with the PM's personal secretary Ms Mary Mugweni.

Upon her return from India, Ms Macheka was supposed to accompany her husband and the PM's daughter Rumbidzai on yet another 12-day international trip to Australia and Japan.

PM Tsvangirai customarily married Ms Macheka recently.

Before marrying Ms Macheka PM Tsvangirai was involved with several women culminating in his marriage to Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo whom he divorced after 12 days.

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