Published On: Tue, Jan 10th, 2017

Tension between Mugabe and Muzenda family as rifts widen

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By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO- Former Vice president Simon Muzenda’s family has petitioned president Robert Mugabe over his  alleged refusal to officially open the Simon Muzenda Cultural Centre in Masvingo as tension between the head of state and the Muzenda family widen.

Mugabe did not officially open the cultural centre as planned when he came for the Zanu PF 16th conference last month, but instead chose to open an internet cafe just 200 metres away from where the cultural centre was established.

The late vice president’s wife Maud Muzenda and his son Tongai Muzenda have since formally asked Mugabe to explain why he did not officially open the cultural centre despite having sanctioned its establishment

The Simon Muzenda cultural centre was hastily built in Mucheke Masvingo’s poorest suburb so that Mugabe would officially open it during the week long Zanu PF conference .

The place where the cultural centre was built according to sources  is where the late Simon Muzenda used to stay during the 1960s.

“We have formally petitioned the President to give us an explanation as a family,”said Tongai Muzenda the late vice president’s eldest son.

“As the Muzenda family we spend three days waiting for the president to come and officially open the centre but to our surprise he did not turn up,”said Muzenda.

“surprisingly it is the president who personally indicated that he would want to have such a centre,”said Muzenda.

The late vice president’s wife who is on a wheel chair was made to wait for hours but the head of state did not turn up.

Although no official comment could be obtained from the President’s office government sources said Mugabe shunned the official opening of the site because the structure was incomplete.

“It is not that there is bad blood between the president and the Muzenda family but the truth of the matter is that President Mugabe was told that the structure was incomplete hence he could not officially open an incomplete structure,”said a government source.

The Simon Muzenda cultural centre was built by the Joshua Nkomo Trust in collaboration with the Great Zimbabwe University’s cultural studies department.

The late vice president was born on 28 October 1922 and died on 20 September 2003 after serving in government since 1980 when the country attained its independence.

The late Muzenda who was declared a national hero was affectionately known as the “soul of the nation “.

He was president Robert Mugabe’s closest ally since the days of the liberation struggle.