President Robert Mugabe’s donation of biscuits, Zapnax (the local equivalent of Niknaks) and water to some of the victims of floods in southern Zimbabwe has come under intense scrutiny.
According to a Twitter post by Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe’s higher education minister who’s also the MP for Tsholotsho where many of the displaced come from, Mugabe sent 1 000 packs of Zapnax, 1 000 bottles of mineral water and 1 000 packs of biscuits.
There were many other donations, including from schools, a safari company, a church and aid groups.
Floods hit parts of southern Zimbabwe shortly after tropical storm Dineo pummelled the region. At least 900 people are still living in a camp for the displaced in Tsholotsho district. Across Zimbabwe, 2 000 people were displaced.
While there’s no doubt that water and foodstuffs (non-perishable foodstuffs at that) are desperately needed by those currently living in tents, a number of Zimbabweans still view Mugabe’s donation in a poor light.
“We are doomed,” tweeted @MakomboreroH, the secretary general of the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union in response to the report of Mugabe’s gift.
Obert Gutu, the spokesperson for the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change told the privately-run Daily News that Mugabe’s donation was in “extreme bad taste”.
“It’s arrogance of the highest order for him to send the victims donated biscuits, Zapnaxs and bottled mineral water. This shows Mugabe’s utter contempt for the toiling masses of Zimbabwe,” the paper quoted Gutu as saying.
On Twitter, Home Affairs Minister Saviour Kasukuwere welcomed all the donations and the feedback from Moyo (who himself donated groceries to the displaced). He tweeted: “We will work to build back better.”
There is just one thing to note though: Mugabe (who recently had to have a plane chartered for him from Bahrain) may not necessarily choose to eat Zapnax, which are produced in Harare.
The president was snapped snacking on imported Lays crisps during his 93rd birthday party last month.