Reburial a govt programme: Kereke
HARARE – Munyaradzi Kereke has denied that his bid to pump $100 000 to rebury 50 freedom fighters in Bikita was a vote-buying gimmick, claiming it was a government programme.
The ANZ, publishers of the Daily News, received a letter from Kereke, founder of the Rock Foundation Medical Centre (RMC), complaining that the article was libellous.
In his letter dated January 8, Kereke demanded the Daily News print a correction, and threatened $2 million legal action.
The article stated that Kereke had come under fire for pumping $100 000 for the reburial of 50 freedom fighters in Bikita, in return for votes, at a time workers at his hospital have not been paid.
While the State media reported that he had pumped $100 000, it has emerged from papers attached as annexure to his letter to the ANZ that he actually provided only $8 000 not the reported $100 000.
Kereke claims this was the first tranche for the first phase of the project.
“The whole exercise is estimated to take place over a number of years, needing a lot of money of over $100 000 to completion,” he claimed in his letter.
The RMC founder, seeking election as senator on a Zanu PF ticket, denied the move was a campaign gimmick.
His workers, who are owed money by him, had denounced his move as cheap populism aimed at winning votes.
“Mr. Gama (ANZ Group Editor), the above explicit damaging lies had the effect of seriously infringing my dignity and human rights and freedoms under the constitution and other progressive laws of Zimbabwe”, Kereke wrote.
He claimed the reburial exercise was not a Kereke project but a government of Zimbabwe project.
He attached a purported government letter, which is not on a letterhead but bearing a government stamp, purported to be from the district administrator’s office.
He claimed the letter “clearly proves the fact that it is a national programme by government and not what your stories falsely claim.”
“I was approached to assist by government because government whose Treasury is under Minister Tendai Biti has no money for the exercise,” Kereke’s letter says.
“Donors into the programme like myself deal only with the DA’s office via the Bikita DA himself Mr. E. Seenza. Donors into the programme have no say on the actual reburial programme, including the venues of the reburial.
“Please read the attached Annex 3 letter (paragraph 3) which explicitly shows that the reburial issues are dealt with by the Bikita Fallen War Heroes Committee, which is chaired by Mr Makombe, the Bikita District Registrar.
“I do not sit in the Committee and I have never interfaced with it.”
Reacting to another story stating that the body of a liberation war hero exhumed in Mudzi late last year under his “$100 000” project is lying at a mortuary in Bikita as wrangling stalls reburial, Kereke again said he was merely a donor.
“In the case of the late Cde Stanford Dzingirai Makude, I simply donated money for his reburial and this money was paid directly to the DA’s office,” Kereke said.
“I have never interfaced with the late’s family and have had absolutely no say on when and where he is to be reburied. Your paper created lies.” – Staff Writer