Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi has defended Zanu-PF parliamentarians receiving funding from the United States government, saying the money was part of the wealth stolen from Africans.His comments came as Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Wadyajena last Friday condemned the 12 Zanu-PF legislators who are now known as the “dirty dozen” for allegedly receiving the funding and leaking party’s classified information to the Americans.
Speaking at celebrations to mark World Tourism Day at Matendera monuments in Buhera on Saturday, Minister Mzembi said there was nothing wrong with funding from the US.
“We started a programme countrywide to rehabilitate these ancient cities,” he said. “Last week we were in Gweru to rehabilitate Nalatale Ruins at a cost of US$64 000 provided by the US embassy.
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“There is nothing wrong in getting money from the US government as it constitutes part of the loot which was taken from us. Ini ndikaipihwa ndinoitora ndogadzirisa guta reMatendera, kwete kutuka maMPs (If I am offered the money I will take it and spruce up Matendera monuments. Not to scold MPs who received the money). They make mistakes here and there, vana vaduku but we must not politicise funds.”
The US government has been working with some Zanu-PF MPs and has funded projects in their constituencies under the US ambassador Self Help Fund in a development that has raised concern in some quarters due to the frosty relations between Washington and Harare.
Last week Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa condemned MPs who were receiving funding from the US government, saying all aid should come through Government.
The MPs who are said to have received the US funds include Comrades Paul Mavhima (Gokwe Sengwa), Walter Kanhanga (Guruve North), Adam Chimwamurombe (Chipinge West), Chriswell Mutematsaka (Guruve South), Cde Batsirayi Pemhanayi (Mutare North), Enock Porusingazi (Chipinge South), Tapiwanashe Matangaidze (Shurugwi South), Temba Mliswa (Hurungwe West), Kindness Paradza (Makonde) David Butau (Mbire), Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (Uzumba).
Apart from funding the MPs, suspected CIA operative Eric Little who works at the US Embassy in Harare has also received briefings from various parliamentarians, including some from the MDC-T.
Matendera monument is the second largest ancient city in the country after Great Zimbabwe and is among several others that are found in Buhera district.
Speaking at Chinyenyetu Business Centre in Gokwe to people who attended a Women’s Educational Meeting on Friday, Cde Wadyajena said people should shun aid that comes with strings attached.
“Right now there is an issue of the Americans who are being accused of paying money to some Zanu-PF legislators in exchange of the party’s classified information,” he said.
“Any funding that comes with strings attached is not good. There are some non governmental organisations come pretending to be good yet they are being used by our enemies.”
Cde Wadyajena said Zimbabwe was under punitive and gruelling sanctions imposed by the West.
He said recently the whites intercepted US$45 million diamond money under frivolous allegations of targeted sanctions.
Cde Wadyajena said women should emulate First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe.
Cde Wadyajena said as a Member of Parliament he represented people in Nembudziya.
On the concerns of cotton seed which is on high demand in Gokwe, Cde Wadyajena said: “When we were in Parliament (Agriculture, Irrigation and Mechanisation Development Minister) Dr Joseph Made said all people are going to receive free cotton seed. Free seed for all. NdivaMugabe vakanaka avo.”