President Robert Mugabe’s daughter was seen on state TV accompanying her father on an official visit to Japan.
Bona Mugabe, who married pilot Simba Chikore last year, was shown sitting next to her father and Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi during discussions in Tokyo.
MDC spokesman Obert Gutu tweeted: “So is one Bona Mugabe-Chikore a member of Mugabe’s official delegation to Japan? Zimbabwe has gone to the dogs!”
There was spirited reaction on social media, with popular blogger @CynicHarare tweeting:
One day, when my family also owns a country, I will take my daughter to work like others also. (pic.twitter.com/0veaEa7tD7)
— Cynic. (@CynicHarare) March 16, 2015
Said Zimbabwean journalist @nqabamatshazi: “Father is the owner of the country, mother controls the country, now it looks like daughter is the heir to the country.”
Analysts suggest the sudden rise of Mugabe’s wife Grace in Zimbabwe’s deeply-divided political arena may be part of a plan to ensure the “first family” retains its hold on power, after Mugabe retires or dies.
Grace is now head of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s powerful women’s league, and she has hinted she won’t be content with just that.
Bona, 24, is Mugabe’s first child with Grace, born while his first wife Sally was still alive. She graduated with a Masters degree in banking and finance in Singapore in 2013.
The state broadcaster is reporting that Japan has pledged US2.6 million (R32.4m) to help Zimbabwe’s disaster preparedness programmes.
Reports say Mugabe took an entourage of 100 on the trip with him.