Mnangagwa, Chivayo ties raise eyebrows

Wicknell Chivayo flanked by President Emmerson Mnangagwa (right) and Kenyan President William Ruto at State House in Bulawayo yesterday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s links with controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo have been questioned after the ex-convict was seen playing a key rule during the state visit by Kenyan President William Ruto.

Ruto jetted into the country on Friday to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo yesterday.

The businessman, whose source of wealth is being questioned after splashing thousands of dollars  of luxury cars for Zanu PF aligned influencers and artists, overshadowed top government officials when Mnangagwa received his Kenyan counterpart at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport on Friday.

He later appeared in several pictures with Mnangagwa and Ruto at State House in Bulawayo.

Earlier that day Chivayo hogged the limelight as he relegate ministers to the sidelines, including Industry minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu who was presiding over the annual trade showcase during Mnangagwa’s tour of the ZITF stands in Bulawayo.

Chivayo, Mnangagwa’s sons and dozens of security personnel were seen moving around touring ZITF stands. Ministers and top Zanu PF officials were pushed to the periphery during the tour.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti said Mnangagwa has put the country’s international relations into disrepute, and it was not acceptable.

 “Anyone can be a friend to anyone, but for a whole president to accommodate his cronies on state business it’s embarrassing,” Biti said.

“He has put our international relations into disrepute and it’s not acceptable and embarrassing.”

Mnangagwa’sspokesperson George Charamba was at pains to explain Chivayo’s presence as Zimbabweans demanded answers on social media.

Centre for Natural Resources and Governance  director Farai Maguwu said Mnangagwa was surrounded by dubious people.

“In the environment we are operating under the tenets of good governance no longer exist,” Maguwu said.

“When a dignitary like President William Ruto comes to Zimbabwe, we expect the president to be flanked by his deputy or deputies and his cabinet ministers not by a convicted criminal.

“Organised crime has become a norm; we are seeing a person like Chivhayo presiding over state functions and that shows state capture.”

Centre for Research and Development  director James Mupfumi said Mnangagwa’s association with Chivayo raised a lot of questions.

“Former presidential advisorr to Mnangagwa Eddie Cross described Wicknell as a nasty corrupt businessman, a money changer and someone who is playing the games using his proximity to the president,” Mupfumi said.

“It, therefore, comes as no surprise since he attributes his success to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF.”

Chivayo has been dishing out cars, cash and other goodies to persons he says have been key in fronting Mnangwagwa’s re-election in the disputed 2023 elections.

Yesterday, he said he had bought singer Majahawodwa Ndlovu, popularly known as Jeys Marabini, for playing good music at a state banquet where Mnangagwa was hosting Ruto.

“Your contribution and continued support at Zanu PF rallies and national events throughout the years together with the significant contribution you have made in the music industry will never be forgotten” Chivayo posted on social media.

Political analyst Tendai Reuben Mbofana said Mnangagwa has surrounded himself with corrupt figures.

“In a normal country, Chivayo should be investigated over his source of riches,” Mbofana said.

During the Easter holidays, Chivhayo  was seen receiving Mnangagwa at the Zion Christian Church (ZCC Mbungo shrine  ahead of Vice President Kembo Mohadi.

Chivhayo also arrived in a helicopter on the day where he was welcomed by government officials, including Mohadi.

He went on to donate US$1 million to the church.

Chivayo, whose source of wealth has remained a mystery, claims he cuts multi-million dollar deals through his murky Intratek Company.

He says his lucrative power and energy ventures have a presence in South Africa, among other countries.

The ruling party apologist has in recent months blessed social media influencers and popular musicians who perform at Zanu PF events, with top-of-the-range vehicles and money.

A leaked Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) memo revealed that the anti-graft body last year tried to investigate Chivayo’s source of wealth with the intention of seizing his assets worth US$7 million.

It is not clear why the investigation was abandoned, but the socialite who rose t prominence after a multi-million dollar scandal involving Zesa’s proposed solar project in Gwanda became closer to Mnangagwa.

He has also been awarded multimillion dollar government projects, but the nature of his businesses remains unclear.


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