Midlands proportional representation MP Perseviarance Zhou says first lady Auxilia Mnangagwa is only a patron of PPAC Investments Private Limited, which runs a recreational park in Kwekwe.
Zhou was reacting to a story in our previous edition titled, “Govt cleans up corrupted Covid-19 beneficiary lists following outcry” where she was listed as among Mnangagwa’s business partners whose names were removed from a list of intended beneficiaries of a $600 million Covid-19 fund for vulnerable people in Kwekwe.
Below is the MP’s statement in full:
“My name is Perseviarance Zhou, a Midlands Province proportional representation Member of Parliament under the women’s quota.
I want to register my utter disgust at the following articles which were published by widely read, The Standard, written by one Brenna Matendere on October 11 entitled “First lady’s business partners listed on multi-million dollar fund for the poor” and “Govt cleans up corrupted Covid-19 beneficiary lists following outcry” on November 22.
The above articles have a lot of false statements.
Firstly, Brenna alleges that PPAC runs Kwekwe Recreational Park.
The correct position is that the park belongs to Kwekwe City Council and is run by a group of women, who put their money together and rehabilitated Prince Park, which had become an eyesore.
He further alleges that we opened an account with ZB Bank under the PPAC, which is false. That account does not exist.
Thirdly, we are not cronies of the first lady.
The first lady has nothing to do with the lists for Covid-19 funds neither does her name appear on the said list.
Why then is her name brought up where it does not fit in? What was the motive?
We, the alleged business partners, are not wealthy and we do not run any thriving businesses with the first lady; neither do we carry out business deals with the first lady in the Midlands Province.
Other false statements are that:
- I am a senator. I am in the Lower House, so I am addressed as Honourable Zhou, not Senator Zhou.
- My Identity Number is not 58-045574 L 48 as listed in the article.
- I never provided a NetOne line to receive Covid-19 funds.
- I was never involved in the compiling of lists of beneficiaries neither did I visit the Social Welfare department in Kwekwe to drop in my name.
- I own no car neither do I have a luxurious vehicle from Parliament as yet.
- I do not own a gold mine as alleged by this reporter.
In his articles Brenna attacks women only as he struggles to explain that we intended to benefit from Covid-19 funds.
He sees women as thieves and just wants to report bad things and not the good that women do in Kwekwe.
This is a serious gender issue whereby a newspaper perpetually lashes out to scandalise the first lady’s name and some women in her area.”
Zhou does not deny that her name was on the old list of Covid-19 beneficiaries in Kwekwe that was audited after revelations by The Standard it had names of undeserving people, including powerful politicians.
However, the MP raises factual issues in our stories that need to be corrected.
We, therefore, unreservedly apologise to Zhou and the first lady for any harm the mix-up might have caused.
For the record, our stories did not suggest that the first lady’s name was on the list or that she had positioned herself to benefit from the fund.— Editor