Sacco under fire for ‘lying’, deserting cyclone victims

CHIMANIMANI East legislator Joshua Sacco (Zanu PF) is under fire from his constituents, who accuse him of peddling falsehoods during the time when Cyclone Idai was wreaking havoc in the area.

Sacco, who has denied the allegations, was defended by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he was booed by the angry villagers during an address at Chimanimani’s Skyline on Wednesday.

The victims, some of whose loved ones are either missing or perished in the wake of Cyclone Idai, accused Sacco of running away from the constituency with his family. They also accused him of going on national television claiming that students from St Charles Lwanga High School had been rescued, when they were actually still marooned at their school, desperate for rescue.

“I was not happy when Sacco was on air claiming that our children had been rescued while we were still marooned and desperately looking for rescue assistance at the school. I received communication that Sacco had actually lied on air,” a teacher at the school said yesterday.

“We were struggling and desperately waiting to be rescued at the school, but one was busy lying to the world in the comfort of their home.”

But Sacco said he was misled by social media and some people in Chimanimani that the students had been rescued by the army.

“On the issue of St Charles Lwanga, I was advised that the army had rescued the children. I even got images though social media images, but a few minutes later, I was told that children had returned back to school because of bad weather,” he said.

“I did interviews with journalists and a few minutes later, I was corrected with the new position. There was no malice to lie to the nation. I asked the ZBC reporter to retract, but failed to do so.

“I did not run away, but I was in a position of danger and actually knew that I was the one with information and I had to drive to Mutare and alert the Department of Civil Protection. I was the first person who alerted President Emmerson Mnangagwa through the Office of the Vice-President. By the time, the President was already on his way out of the country.”

Mnangagwa stood by Sacco, saying even if the people of Chimanimani did not like the MP, he as their President was happy with him.

“For us to have information of the area, it’s because of your MP, the one you are saying you don’t want, but I like him. That’s your own problem (Ndezvenyu izvo if you don’t like him). Me as the President of this country and your ruler, I want him. He helped with geographic mapping and giving us information. We thank him for that,” Mnangagwa said.

— NewsDay

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