The Minister of State for Mashonaland West, Faber Chidarikire is in the eye of a storm after he introduced Acting President, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife as the Acting First Lady during celebrations yesterday to mark the elevation of Prisca Mupfumira to the Politburo and her appointment as the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services.
It is understood that thousands of people who attended the celebrations that were held at Chinhoyi University of Technology were stunned by the introduction by Chidarikire.
Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, a Zanu-PF central committe member who attended the celebrations said Chidarikire who was given the task to introduce Mrs Mnangagwa as the Guest of Honour said because Vice President Mnangagwa was the Acting President, her wife was also the Acting First Lady.
“Everything was going on well during the celebrations until the remarks by Chidarikire. He introduced Mrs Mnangagwa as the Acting First Lady and the people were stunned. He said Mrs Mnangagwa was the Acting First Lady because her husband was the Acting President.
“There were murmurs of dissapproval from many people because this was a first. We have never heard of an Acting First Lady. Some people even started asking around whether that scenario is possible but for some of us we know there is no such a thing,” said the Zanu-PF central committee member.
The central committee member said some of the people who spoke during the celebrations included the Mashonaland West provincial chair, Ziyambi Ziyambi who gave the opening remarks, Politburo member Shuvai Mahofa; Sandi Moyo and Hurungwe East MP, Sarah Mahoka who gave the vote of thanks.
Mupfumira also gave a speech during the celebrations.
Also in attendance were Politburo members July Moyo, Josiah Hungwe, Joram Gumbo, Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Douglas Mombeshora and Chegutu West MP, Dexter Nduna.
Several central committee members from Mashonaland West also attended the celebrations.
When he was contacted for a comment yesterday evening, Chidarikire said he made the introduction as a joke.
“That was a joke. I said tiri kuvati Acting First Lady but it can never be. I had joked that nekuti vaMnangagwa is Acting President, saka she is Acting First Lady.
“It was just a joke and I then corrected that statement that she cannot be acting First Lady because the First Lady is there,” said Chidarikire.
However, another Politburo member who was in attendance and some poltical commentators castigated Chidarikire for what they called a “joke in bad taste.”
“When Cde Chidarikire made the remarks, I couldn’t believe it. I really don’t understand why he thought of such a joke. He almost spoiled the celebrations that were going on well.
“We should respect the First Lady and such jokes border on disrespect,” said the Politburo member.
A political commentator who refused to be named said the incident was not different from the one involving Hungwe who about a weak ago, received a serious backlash after equating VP Mnangagwa to Jesus Christ.
“This incident is just the same as the one by Hungwe about a few days ago.
“Maybe its the adrenalin that will be pumping or its just over-excitement which makes politicians to cross the line. Really, what Chidarikire said was uncalled for and was a joke in bad taste.
“Politicians should learn to restrain themselves when in public because what they say has so many ripple effects,” said the commentator.