Mnangagwa spends more than half a million US 'to mend fences with Mugabes': report

A private newspaper in Zimbabwe says President Emmerson Mnangagwa spent more than half a million US dollars to fly former first lady Grace Mugabe home to attend her mother’s funeral.

The $550 000 was used to charter a top-of-the range jet from a company in Qatar, said the private Standard newspaper.

“The money, it has been established, was sourced by a local business tycoon with vast interests in energy, mining and agriculture, who is close to Mnangagwa,” the paper said. 

'Good politics'

Grace was reported to be unwell and in Singapore last month. She was still there when her 83-year-old mother, Idah Marufu, died in Harare on August 30.

Zanu-PF officials have not confirmed the Standard's claim about the hefty cost of getting Grace Mugabe back to Zimbabwe, but the party’s legal secretary Paul Mangwana said “good politics is expensive”.

“Good politics requires us to treat our former leaders with respect and show compassion to them,” Mangwana added.

An unnamed party insider said Mnangagwa was desperate to patch up his differences with the Mugabes because the former president still has supporters in some rural constituencies.

'Mugabe still has support'

“Mugabe still has supporters in the countryside and it is in Mnangagwa’s interest to have the old man on his side,” the insider was quoted as saying. "So the death of Ambuya (grandmother) Idah presented an opportunity for Mnangagwa to mend relations with his mentor."

Mugabe vowed not to vote for Mnangagwa and Zanu-PF on the eve of the July 30 elections. But last week he said he now accepted his successor as the legitimately-elected president, and said everyone should support him, according to the state-run Chronicle.

“The person who won was Emmerson Mnangagwa and I said now it’s clear,” he said. 

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