PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe gave his daughter, Bona, US$100,000 and a 55 herd of cattle at her lavish wedding to Simba Chikore in Harare on Saturday.
Bona, 24, wed pilot Chikore, said to be 37 years old, at her father’s home in the capital’s plush suburb of Borrowdale.
The presidents of South Africa, Zambia and Equatorial Guinea attended the event along with a handful of former leaders, among them Jerry Rawlings of Ghana.
Various artists including South Africa’s Zahara and the Soweto String Quartet, Koffi Olomide from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and local stars Jah Prayzah and Sulumani Chimbetu provided the entertainment.
Private media organisations were barred from the event which was partially televised on national television although even the ZBC took care not to show images of Mugabe’s palatial home which is said to have cost more than $10 million to build.
Reflecting Mugabe’s sensitivity over his home, the veteran leader’s spokesman George Charamba said: “The venue of the wedding is a peculiar one. It is not a public place.
“It is actually within the grounds of the home of the First Family and this is a home which is distinct from the official residence of the President.
“You might recall that the land on which that home stands was bought by the party, Zanu PF, for their leader. Not a single cent came from the State.”
“Secondly, the structures which have become the private home of the First Family were painstakingly put up through a combination of private savings and donations from well-wishers.
“That makes the place not just a house for now, but a home for all times for the Mugabes, in and out of office. That immediately raises security concerns not just in the present, but for all times.
“So, access to the venue of the wedding can neither be random nor unlimited.”
Some of the top gifts:
An unnamed local mining company gave the couple $100,000
Businessman Ihmad Ahmed – US$50 000
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his wife – US$35,000.
Gabriel Mugabe – US$25 000 and 10 herd of cattle
Public Service Minister Nicholas Goche, US$2,000
ZRP chief, Augustine Chihuri – US$10,000