MANICALAND Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene yesterday walked out on Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa at a State function in Chipinge, claiming she had been belittled by Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira.
The drama took place at belated commemorations of World Refugee Day at Tongogara Camp in Chipinge.
Tempers flared when Chimene attempted to board Mnangagwa’s vehicle during a tour of various sites at the camp, and was allegedly elbowed out by Mupfumira.
During the tour, Chimene made a formal complainant to Mnangagwa.
But more drama was to follow after the tour, when Chimene was asked to sit a distance away from Mnangagwa at the high table.
Feeling belittled, Chimene stormed out despite having a slot on the programme, where she was expected to give welcome remarks.
Efforts to contact Chimene for comment over the incident were fruitless after she was said to have left behind her mobile phone before travelling to Chipinge.
Mupfumira was also unreachable, as her mobile phone went unanswered.
“This is unprecedented. Chimene was claiming that she was elbowed out by Mupfumira,” a top Zanu PF official, who witnessed the drama, said.
“She then accused some officials of playing (Zanu PF) factions at the function.
“She claimed she told the Vice-President that she was not happy with how she had been treated.
“She left during the early stages of the programme.
“Everyone, including some people within and outside the government, were left in shock.”
The official said the director of ceremony, Manicaland provincial administrator, Edgar Sienza, could not explain why Chimene left, as she was on the programme.
“We will have to convene a meeting soon so that we try to unify the province.”
Another ruling party official claimed the event had become a Zanu PF factional function, hence, Chimene’s decision to leave in a huff.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa said the government was planning to repatriate Rwandan refugees in Chipinge back to their country by end of the year.
“Let me take this opportunity to inform you that, as government, we are proceeding with the implementation of the Rwandan Cessation Clause,” he said.
“To that end, I urge all Rwandans affected by the cessation clause to make plans to return to Rwanda and contribute in the rebuilding of their nation.”
Mnangagwa said although Zimbabwe was providing sanctuary to over
10 000 refugees, that should not be viewed as a burden, adding that the country should be sensitive and holistic in its response to the influx of refugees.
He said the government was prioritising the provision of education, counselling, health care and agricultural land at the refugee camp to promote self-reliance.-newsday