Christmas came early for dozens of Zimbabwean journalists who became the latest beneficiaries of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s controversial benevolence on Thursday.
The journalists - from both independent and public news outlets - each received a 50kg bag of rice sourced from China, 4 liters of cooking oil, 4 bars of bathing soap and washing powder.
Mrs. Mugabe had pledged the food hampers at a rally last weekend after taking aim at reporters from the private media for being "overly fixated with her personality at the expense of developmental issues."
She then invited the “hungry journalists” to register so they can receive some of the food she’s been donating mainly to Zanu PF activists across the country.
“Journalists from Daily News, NewsDay, Independent, I like you my children, you can’t do without me, I’m back. If you hear them making noise they are hungry, they want food so they can write stories,” Mrs. Mugabe was quoted as saying by NewsDay.
One reporter questioned the First Lady’s motives, saying she might be trying to curry favor with journalists as "she pushes her agenda to succeed her husband President Mugabe."
Still, the reporter was delighted to receive the food handouts, but vowed she will “not be corrupted. I can’t be bought with rice from China.”
Another beneficiary told Studio 7: "This is a timely Chrismas gift but she can't buy us."
The journalists collected the hampers at State House on Thursday.