The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
WIDOW to former Zimbabwean President Canaan Sodindo Banana, Mrs Janet Madade Banana has received a brand new Ford Everest car from Government as part of her benefits.
The Government early in the year, made a commitment to pay Mrs Banana’ medical bills on top of other benefits after she returned to Zimbabwe after an 18-year stay in the United Kingdom. All former First Ladies are entitled to certain packages.
In an interview at her sister’s home in Southwold suburb in Bulawayo on Friday, Mrs Banana said she was grateful to the Government for fulfilling its promise.
“The vehicle was delivered on 8 August. It was a shock really, although I had been expecting it for a long time. In the end I was really glad and appreciate what Government has done for me so far. It is a Ford Everest, I even bought a shed for it to cover it and protect it from the sun and the rain,” she said, smiling.
Mrs Banana said the Government was also taking care of her medical bills as she was still undergoing treatment. She also acknowledged that she has been receiving her pension, but added that there were still some outstanding issues that were still to be addressed.
“They are still sorting out my accommodation, security and general upkeep. When I returned home I had to ask my sister to live with her as the Government had said I could be put in a hotel while I wait for my accommodation to be sorted out. But I turned that offer down because I did not want to be isolated and lonely in a hotel,” she said.
Mrs Banana sang praises to the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa who visited her in June.
“I am grateful for Amai Mnangagwa’s initiative of coming here to see me, I told her about my problems such as accommodation and transport. I am really thankful to her, she is a star to me. Things have been progressing since her coming,” said Mrs Banana.
Mrs Banana also took time to highlight the need for Zimbabweans to assist in nation building and not focus merely on living in the diaspora.
“Living in a foreign country is not easy; don’t envy those that are out of the country. I know there are hardships that are there at home but I think to conquer these hardships we need to work together to unite for the progress of the country,” she said.
Mrs Banana said she is not going back to the UK.
“I am not going back to the UK. I have decided to retire and live in Zimbabwe, I even had my sister sending me some of my belongings because when I left the UK, I was going on holiday in South Africa and I became seriously ill.
“My visa was now expiring in South Africa and I spoke to the Ambassador about my predicament and he suggested I come to Zimbabwe and apply for another visa and go back but I told him once I go home that is it,” she said.
“I go to Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and I have been there once, when I get better I will be going more often and I am now mobile.”