FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe’s CBZ account number 01124193480011, which was used to source funds for her 50th birthday fundraising dinner held on July 25, had a healthy balance of almost US$2 million as of Wednesday.
This comes at a time listed giants such as Delta and Econet are struggling, and have instituted cost-cutting measures that include firing workers on three months’ notice.
The First Lady raised the cash to support her charity work in the run-up to and during the opulent dinner held at her Blue Roof mansion in Borrowdale Brooke.
On July 29, she donated a total of US$250 000 to 50 charity organisations countrywide at a function held at her orphanage in Mazowe. Each of the charity organisations received US$5 000 in cash, and some foodstuffs.
Despite donating to the organisations, her account had US$1 785 087,35 as of Wednesday morning, down from US$2 554 029,03 on August 1.
The account registered a first deposit of US$100 000 on July 1 and by July 22 this had risen to US$1 285 930,70. On her birthday (July 23), the balance swelled to US$1 753 641,22, reaching US$2 058 893,14 on July 28.
The balance as of July 31 was US$1 835 410,86.
Records made available by sources close to the organising committee show that there have been a series of deposits and withdrawals from the account since money started flowing in on July 1. The committee was made up of mostly close relatives and the First Family’s trusted friends, and not members of charitable organisations.
The Amai Dr Grace Mugabe @ 50 organising committee, which organised the fundraising dinner,told delegates to donate in cash or kind to charities in which Grace was patron, among them Danhiko Trust, Aids Counselling Trust, Zimbabwe National Association for Mental Health, the Adult Literacy Organisation in Zimbabwe and Musha Mukadzi Zimbabwe Armed Forces Trust.
In addition to the money in the account, the First Lady also raised cash during the fundraising dinner.
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya, for instance, bought a book chronicling the First Lady’s life in pictures for a whopping US$50 000 after he outbid other potential buyers. Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo reportedly also sent cash with his daughter.
Ahead of the fundraising dinner, broke state-owned enterprises and parastatals were asked to support the event.
The sponsors’ package for the dinner included advertising space at the event, a five-minute slot on the programme for the major sponsors to profile their organisation, platinum branding for Grace’s table, a seat at her table and acknowledgement in the programme booklet, among other benefits.
That the First Lady was able to raise more than US$3 million in less than a month, in a struggling economy, proves how powerful she has become. Top government, Zanu PF and state enterprises bosses made it a point that they supported the event, leaving Grace swimming in cash.