ONE of Wicknell Chivayo’s estranged business partners yesterday told him to carry his own cross as the controversial tenderpreneur tried to wriggle out of a raging scandal that was blown up by an alleged audio recording of him claiming to have captured President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zanu PF was early this week forced to warn Chivayo to stop using Mnangagwa’s name in his alleged nefarious deals.

Last night the Zanu PF youth league also issued a statement accusing the Intratrek owner of abusing his proximity to the 81-year-old ruler and called for an investigation into his conduct.

The warning by both government and Zanu PF officials followed an audio recording that went viral on social media where someone alleged to be Chivayo can be heard telling his business partners Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu that the President was in his pockets.

In the purported recording, he told Mpofu and Chimombe not to fuss about proceeds of an alleged US$40 million tender from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to supply election materials for last year’s disputed polls.

The duo had accused Chivayo of denying them their share of the loot in a deal that also involved Zanu PF’s Mabvuku MP Scott Sakupwanya’s Better Brands company.

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He told them that there were more lucrative deals from the Immigration Department, police and other government departments on the way because of his proximity to Mnangagwa and other powerful people.

Chivayo issued a stern statement yesterday distancing himself from the audio, but seemed to be blaming Chimombe and Mpofu for the mess, which he claimed was part of a scheme by the two to extort him.

He apologised to Mnangagwa, First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa, Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo and other influential people whose names were mentioned as beneficiaries of the Zec tender or as being part of those in his pockets.

Chimombe told NewsDay that he did not want to be drawn into Chivayo’s problems, adding that he should solve them on his own.

“If he has his own problems, he should deal with them,” he said.

“Trying to include us in this mess would not solve what he has failed to solve as an individual.”

Mpofu was not reachable for comment yesterday.

Rueben Mbofana, a political analyst, said Chivayo was trying to do damage control.

“Let’s remember that when an individual talks or writes, there are certain mannerisms and characteristics to his style and speech patterns that are unique to that particular person.

“It’s nearly impossible to replicate these,” Mbofana said.

“But there is no running away from the fact that he talked too much without suspecting that his words will be distributed.

“Now Chivayo finds himself in soup. He has inadvertently exposed President Mnangagwa and his involvement in Chivayo’s shady deals.”

He said Chivayo was worried that he would be thrown off the gravy train because of the raging controversy.

“That has the potential of landing him in real trouble. His deals may be cut off,” Mbofana added.

“He may even find himself behind bars on some charges, possibly corruption, for embarrassing the head of State.

“We can safely say, the days of Chivayo are coming to an end.”

Chivayo had of late become a prominent feature as State functions presided over by Mnangagwa, including the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo in April where Kenyan President William Ruto was the guest of honour.

He has also donated thousands of dollars at events presided over by the President despite constant questions about his source of wealth.

Chivayo has donated cars worth millions of dollars to Mnangagwa’s supporters that include musicians and praise singers whom he credits for the 81-year-old ruler’s controversial re-elections last year.

Meanwhile, the Zanu PF youth league has dissociated itself from Chivayo after a video of him and its leaders surfaced on social media.

The youths said they had noted with “serious concern the malicious, unfounded and scandalous utterances” by Chivayo, adding that “his mischievous claims” purporting to be close to Mnangagwa were “unfortunate and regrettable”.

It said despite his donation of cars to party members “in his own capacity as an ordinary citizen”, it did not know his source of income and would not watch Mnangagwa’s name “being tarnished by such malcontents for their own self-aggrandisement”.

The youth league warned Chivayo and others “to desist from using the name of our President in their nefarious shenanigans”.

“The youth league wants to put it on record that Mr Chivayo does not hold any influential position in the party that warrants him to have a delegation receiving him at the airport,” they said.

“Such an arrangement is a preserve for the President and head of State only. We sternly warn him to abstain from abusing party and government  structures for his brute personal agenda.”