Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Mandi Chimene has denied fleeing Zimbabwe to China following the military coup that saw President Robert Mugabe being put under house arrest.
An outspoken war veteran who has fiercely supported Grace Mugabe and has a tense relationship with the newly appointed Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chimene says she is in China on the Zimbabwe-China Friendship Association business and will be coming back home this week.
“I will be back on Wednesday, November 23. Why should I skip the country I fought for? I have not committed any crime at all. I am a Zimbabwean and I am coming back home soonest.
“What exactly is happening? I am with the Manicaland delegation on the Zimbabwe-China Friendship Association business,” she said.
The director in Chimene’s office, Mr Kennedy Mugarisanwa, also confirmed the China trip and said it was a Government-sponsored trip.
Mr Magirisanwa said: “As you are aware, Chimene is the chairperson of the Zimbabwe-China Friendship Association, she was invited on official business. They usually go there annually and the time was due. Her delegation includes personnel from local authorities, the business community and other sectors. I am not sure of the actual number of her delegation. You can check with her secretary on the trip’s schedule. I know that the trip was being co-ordinated by Mutasa Rural District Council chief executive officer, Mr George Bandure. It was a Government-sponsored trip,” he said.
At a solidarity march organised for Grace Mugabe at the Zanu PF headquarters in August this year, Chimene mocked Mnangagwa telling him ‘he should not eat raw fruits and then claim to have been poisoned.’
“You will have a stomach ache and vomit if you eat raw guavas, but it’s wrong to blame someone saying they have bewitched you,” she said without mentioning any names.
The Zanu PF Central Committee on Sunday resolved to fire Mugabe, the First Lady and dozens of Ministers and senior officials loyal to them including Chimene. If she eventually comes back to Zimbabwe, she is all but set to lose her job as Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister.