ONE night in November 2017, a chubby soldier donning a red beret and military fatigues appeared on ZBC-TV. It was immediately clear something was amiss. His demeanour immediately betrayed what mischief he was up to.
For those old enough to have followed the history of military take-overs in Africa, the soldier, who everyone would later know with a mixture of admiration, apprehension and awe as SB Moyo, was the archetypical coupist.
Young, dark and menacing: that’s how they have always come from Uganda’s Idi Amin Dada, Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, Liberia’s Samuel Doe, name them, they are all dark and unlovely!
In his coup statement, announced, in spite of its enormity, with a good deal of composure, he re-assured the nation that everything was in order and the nation had no reason to panic. He even re-assured all those who still cared about the safety of former Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe, that their idol was safe.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”
Karma is a donkey!
IN the past three years, if one thing has come up clearly, it is that, if President Emmerson Mnangagwa falls, it will be because of the criminals around him who would have done him that favour. All the high-profile corruption cases that have come into the public domain are in one way or another linked to people around him.
One of the first high-profile scandals was that of former Principal Director of State Residences in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Douglas Tapfuma, who allegedly abused his office to facilitate the importation of more than 80 vehicles without paying duty. Unconfirmed reports say he is a Mnangagwa kinsman.
He is serving a six-year prison sentence.
Then came Obadiah Moyo, who in June this year was arrested on allegations of corruption regarding a US$60 million deal to procure Covid-19 test kits and medical equipment. He was granted bail for ZW$50 000.
Prosecutors are investigating three charges, including an “abuse of office” charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. he is also said to be the president’s kinsman.
These are just two of the high profile cases, but many have come up and brought before the courts and many more suspects have not had their day in court, a situation which Zimbabwe’s vibrant satirical sector has dubbed Mnangagwa’s “catch-and-release” policy.
But those around the president who have been caught in corruption allegations do not just end with his appointees to high office. What is concerning is that in most of these corruption cases members of his immediate family have been fingered.
A case in point, and related to the Obadiah Moyo case, is that of Delish Nguwaya who, according to media reports, has close links with Mnangagwa’s sons, Sean and Collins.
(How many sons does Mnangagwa have anyway?)
Nguwaya was placed under investigation in June 2020 due to his work as representative of a small group of companies owned by Albanian citizens and which competed for a string of multimillion-dollar contracts.
They include Drax Consult Sagl and Drax International, which went on to win Covid-19 medical equipment contracts despite having no prior record in the pharmaceutical industry.
Nguwaya currently faces fraud charges in the Drax case.
But if Nguwaya is the red herring, he has irrevocably given the world the clue to, and raised the red flag on Mnangagwa’s family involvement in corrupt activities. Collins has refuted any links to Nguwaya, but documentary and photographic evidence point to close family and business relationship between the Mnangagwas and Nguwaya.
It’s this week’s events are a blockbuster.
Henrietta Rushwaya, a socialite and former Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive officer, was on Monday arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare on allegations of trying to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.
She was arrested by CID detectives after the gold was found in her hand luggage following a search as she was going through check-in formalities.
Interestingly, she is closely related to Mnangagwa. She is a cousin to Martin Rushwaya as their fathers are brothers. It is claimed, according to unconfirmed reports, that Martin Rushwaya’s mother is sister to Mnangagwa’s mother.
Martin is the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration and Finance in the Office of the President and Cabinet. He was Defence ministry permanent secretary during the time of the coup.
Relationships don’t come that close.
Henrietta was not arrested alone. Four more people were arrested in the week for complicity in the smuggling attempt. They include Ali Mohammed of the car dealership Ali Japan 786; a picture has emerged of him flanked by Mnangagwa himself and Reserve Bank governor John Mangudya. Two security services officers very close to the president, Steven Chenjerai Tserayi and Raphius Mufandauya, were also arrested after being implicated in the smuggling debacle. The fourth is a CIO impostor.
That all points to the closeness of most perpetrators of corruption to the seat of power.
But what is good for the goose surely must be good for the gander. SB Moyo should oblige us by doing the same thing he did nearly three years ago, that is, remove the criminals around Mnangagwa, whichever way he is going to do it, otherwise history will judge him harshly for double standards!
THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is well-known throughout Africa and even beyond. Among its achievements: It has traversed the length and breadth of the globe on peacekeeping missions; it alone was responsible for ending Mozambique’s 16-year conflict when it invaded Gorongosa and brought Renamo to its knees and to the negotiation table; and it helped prop the government of Laurent Desire Kabila in the DRC when it was under threat.
But the ZNA has become notorious at home for killing civilians as they did on August 1 2018 and in January the following year.
But Muckraker gets worried when a member of such an illustrious army is killed by mere babes as happened in Zaka recently. Three kids aged 15, 12 and 10 got the better of a real soldier, not just an ordinary soldier, but a whole sergeant attached to the elite One Commando Regiment in Harare.
Is the nation safe? Can the nation depend on the ZNA to guarantee its security in the face of this? But then what would one expect?
“The body of the now deceased was searched and a ZNA identity card, three blue tablets, cigarettes, loose dagga wrapped in a rizzler paper and two sachets of dagga were recovered from his pockets.”
Trump or Biden, the sanctions remain; it’s American foreign policy. – Independent ■