The role of the First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa in government business was on Wednesday brought to Parliament by an opposition MP.
Mnangagwa stirred controversy last week after she reportedly berated staff at the state-owned drugs dispensary, NatPharm for allegedly failing to deliver drugs to hospitals.
Outspoken Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance), demanded an explanation from the Health Minister on why the First Lady was giving directives to civil servants. Said Chikwinya:
… explain what role individuals who are outside government structures have in the operations of NatPharm, seeing that recently we saw the first lady directing operations at NatPharm to the extent that she called the minister to State House on a Sunday together with his board to direct them to explain why there were shortages of drugs.
So do private individuals have the capacity to simply go into NatPharm and direct operations?
In his response, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said that Mnangagwa was acting in her capacity as the Ministry’s ambassador. He said:
The first lady’s work is philanthropic work… She has done a tremendous amount of work for the country without any doubt. She has managed to acquire on behalf of the ministry, on behalf of all of us, she has acquired equipment that we could never have been able to acquire.
Minister Moyo and his deputy, Dr John Mangwiro were at State House earlier in the day where they met the First Lady and doctors from public health institutions who were led by Dr Faith Muchemwa.