A ROW has erupted between Zimbabwe government and the former late President Robert Mugabe’s family over payment for catering services that have been provided by Nyaradzo Group, the Zim Morning Post can reveal.
This comes on the backdrop of reports that the Mugabe family contracted Nyaradzo Group to provide catering services, equipment, generators, mobile toilets and executive mobile sleepers without government approval.
For food services alone the bill stood at ZW$2,5 million as at Sunday.
Sources said the Mugabe family engaged Nyaradzo while government deals with Doves Funeral when it comes to handling heroes’ burials.
“The family wanted Nyaradzo because of the quality of services yet government says it only has a contract with Doves to provide services for the Heroes,” the source said.
“Government, through Home affairs, also provides catering services so it has since said the Mugabe family should settle the Nyaradzo bill which is likely to run into millions.”
“Since Wednesday, Nyaradzo has been providing meals at the Blue Roof and for the past five days the bill is at ZW$2,5 million.
“This is likely to go even higher because Mugabe family says the veteran leader will only be buried after 30 days as they have requested the construction of a mausoleum at the Heroes Acre.”
“What is disturbing is that the bill has been handed to Home affairs who in turn say they never contracted Nyaradzo Group,” the source added.
A top government official told this publication that government is not going to pay for the services rendered by Nyaradzo.
“The choice of service provider was made by the family. There was no tender. By Sunday night the bill was over ZW$2,5 million,” said a top Home Affairs ministry official.
“Government preferred various options such as hiring chefs from Universities and Police to provide catering services.”
A source from Nyaradzo Group said they are not dealing with government but the Mugabe family.
“We have no deal with government. What is the interest of the people who are giving you such information. It is in the public domain that the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) said government will support the bereaved family so I do not see any problems there,” the source said.
Zim Morning Post understands that Mugabe’s family is covering catering service costs at the fallen leader’s Zvimba rural home.
The tax payer has been carrying the costs of Mugabe’s funeral since announcement of his demise on September 6. A Zimbabwean delegation led by vice president Kembo Mohadi flew to Singapore on a charter plane before returning with the remains of the man who swept to power after Zimbabwe’s independence and went on to rule for 37 years until he was ousted in 2017.
The two day sojourn saw the officials pocketing at least US$1, 500 a day in allowances.
The body of the late former president was embalmed in Singapore before being flown to Harare, although it is unclear who covered those costs while government insists it covered the hospital costs of Mugabe’s time at a Singapore hospital before his demise.