Tuesday 11 June 2024


The close alliance between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ‘controversial’ businessman Wicknell Chivayo raises concerns about unchecked power, lack of transparency, and potential corruption, according to ZAPU.

These concerns follow a leaked audio recording in which Chivayo, who has recently been seen more frequently with President Mnangagwa at public events, brags that the whole of Zimbabwe is in his hands.

In the audio, Chivayo promises millions to his associates in the WhatsApp group from which the audio leaked, provided they agree to be patient and stop opposing his presidential aspirations.

ZAPU Secretary General Mthulisi Hanana told CITE that the “special treatment of Chivayo” by the government calls for transparency and accountability because not much is known about his source of wealth.

“What is clear is that this Wicknell person is a close ally, if not an errand boy, for the country’s number one, and because of that, it makes him immune to a lot of laws that apply to all ordinary citizens,” Hanana said, adding that it is worrying how authorities seem to lack the capacity to probe him.

“Is it because Chivayo is tied to the highest office? In Zimbabwe, some individuals are bigger than the law, who are untouchable, and Wicknell is at the centre of Mnangagwa’s circle of untouchable people,” he said.

Hanana highlighted the opaqueness of deals involving Chivayo, such as the printing and distribution of last year’s voting material, the Gwanda 100 Megawatt Solar project, and the latest Starlink internet tender. He stated that regardless of Chivayo’s actions, he doubts any investigation will be done into these transactions.

“This is so because we feel he’s protected by the President. You can even see when the President performs his ritual of getting out of the plane, shaking hands, and greeting people, Wicknell is ahead of the ministers and sometimes ahead of the vice presidents. He is not a government employee, and you wonder what official position he holds,” said Hanana.

“I mean, Wicknell is ahead of Mnangagwa’s children when they are bidding their father goodbye at the airport. So you can tell that he enjoys a very cosy, close relationship with the President.”

According to Hanana, such behaviour is concerning, especially when the controversial businessman “boasts about his close ties” with the president.

“If the audio circulating on social media is true, it leaves much to be desired. Even Chivayo’s bragging about his Starlink or middleman status in the recent contract or tender he received is concerning. Over and above that, this guy is distributing a lot of wealth and exhibiting a very lavish lifestyle, which under normal circumstances would trigger an investigation by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to check if he pays his taxes,” Hanana said.

“ZIMRA must also be confirming or checking the source of his wealth, and you can tell that these things are not happening because this person is protected by the powers that be. So we are worried as a party.”

Hanana claimed that ZAPU, along with a majority of Zimbabweans, including those in the ruling party, are worried about how a country can be run this way when it is plagued by corruption.

“This doesn’t inspire confidence, it doesn’t show that the government is committed to dealing with corruption,” said Hanana, lamenting how authorities in Zimbabwe are more focused on arresting opposition voices.

“The only corruption that the government seems to be dealing with is corruption that is targeted at people viewed or perceived to be against the State or vocal about human rights injustices. So these are some of the things that worry us as a people. As a country, we must come together and find a solution to rescue our country from Mnangagwa and his cronies.”

ZAPU is not the only party that has criticized Chivayo; another opposition member, Fadzayi Mahere, has repeatedly questioned Chivayo’s connection with the president, demanding that the government spokesperson, Nick Mangwana, be accountable to citizens. CITE


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