TRANSPORT minister Joram Gumbo yesterday insisted former President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore had no shareholding in Zimbabwe Airways which he said was wholly government-owned.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Gumbo, in a ministerial statement read in the National Assembly, said Chikore must not be viewed with suspicion as he had rights to be employed and to negotiate for the country.
“The shareholding is wholly government and no other, and Chikore was employed by Air Zimbabwe and he has good qualifications,” Gumbo said.
Gumbo also said the political plates affixed to the planes − Mugabe (RGM), President Emmerson Mnangagwa (ED) and former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko (PM) were just temporary and would soon be removed.
He added that government established the new airline under the Companies Act 24:03 which was registered as Zimbabwe Airways registration number 3015/2012 by former Transport minister Nicholas Goche. He said the first directors were Andrew Vumbe (Finance ministry), Angeline Karonga (Transport ministry) and the first secretary being Laxon Madzinga, and the interim board established by the then Transport ministry secretary, Partson Mbiriri.
Gumbo said due to a $282 million debt overhang on Air Zimbabwe and threats by the European Union to impound the airline’s planes, government saw it prudent to establish another national airline by a different name.
“To protect ourselves, we said we must pretend that the aircraft is being purchased by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora,” he said.
Government in October 2016 bought four Boeing 777 aircrafts from Malaysia for $70 million and paid $41 million, leaving a balance of $29 million.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Amendment Bill has sailed through the National Assembly after passing the Third Reading Stage.