MAKONDE MP, Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF) has claimed First Lady Grace Mugabe was “way above” Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko in terms of party hierarchy.
 
Addressing a media training workshop in Chinhoyi last week, Paradza, a veteran journalist-cum-politician, said Grace deserved to be addressed as “Her Excellency”, as she was at the same level with President Robert Mugabe.
 
“In terms of protocol all over the world, the First Lady is above Vice-Presidents because she is the wife of the President and Head of State and her title is Her Excellency. The Head of State is addressed as His Excellency and the VPs are addressed as honourable. That is the difference in terms of protocol . . . she is in a different structure of her own,” he said.
 
Last Friday, Grace made similar claims during her campaign rally in Masvingo, when she said Mugabe was her only superior in the ruling party.
Turning to the liberalisation of the airwaves, Paradza, who chairs the media portfolio committee in Parliament, said Zimbabwe was going to have community radio stations next year.
 
“Our committee will go around the country next year to see the progress on the new sites for these transmitters and will recommend to Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, so that they open up for applications for new licences . . . we need them, as MPs, to interact with our constituencies,” he said.
 
Paradza said both the MDC-T and Zanu PF had unanimously agreed to support the retention of the law of criminal defamation because the current crop of journalists had become “reckless and careless”.