Tsvangirai clueless about global politics – Zanu-PF

Cape Town – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is clueless about what happens in the global political sphere, the ruling Zanu-PF party says.

Zanu-PF said this after the MDC criticised President Robert Mugabe following the appearance of his daughter Bona on state television as she accompanied him on an official visit to Japan, intensifying speculation that the veteran leader was trying to shore up his family’s hold on power.

In the news clip, Bona, 24, sat with her 91-year-old father and his foreign minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi during discussions with officials in Tokyo.

The story was front page news on Tuesday in both the main private titles, Newsday and the Daily News.

The MDC said Mugabe had "virtually privatised the state", with the party’s spokesperson Obert Gutu tweeting:

Gutu said his party was absolutely shocked that Bona was attending meetings as if she was part of the official delegation from Zimbabwe.

But in a statement sent to News24, Zanu-PF’s deputy director of information, Psychology Maziwisa said the comments by the MDC were "another sign of Mr Tsvangirai’s pettiness".

Maziwisa said there was no law (domestic or international) that prevented a head of state from travelling with his or her daughter on state visits.

"While we don't expect Mr Tsvangirai to know this from personal experience because he has never been a head of state himself and is unlikely ever to become one in his lifetime, at least we reasonably expect that he should be acquainted with these basic facts because they are a matter of public record," said Maziwisa.

Maziwisa's remarks came after Information Minister Jonathan Moyo also defended Bona's Japan visit, saying she was paying a courtesy call on Japanese officials.

"She's part of the first family. It was a courtesy call," Moyo said on his Twitter page.

"Chelsea Clinton used to join [former US president] Bill [Clinton] in similar cases with no eyebrows raised," Moyo was quoted as saying.