Mnangagwa expands empire in Kwekwe in sea of poverty
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, members of the First Family and his close allies, who include former State Security minister Owen Ncube, have amassed significant wealth in the form of immovable property in Kwekwe during the last two years at a time when there are revelations of plunder of gold linked to the Zimbabwean leader as revealed in the recently aired Al Jazeera documentary titled The Gold Mafia.
Kwekwe is the home town of Mnangagwa, who owns Precabe Farm in the nearby Sherwood area and has contested to become the member of Parliament for the city in the past albeit with embarrassing defeats at the hands of the then MDC stalwart Blessing Chebundo.
A recent visit by this reporter revealed that President Mnangagwa, since October last year, has been building a big house in the densely populated Redcliff suburb which is reeling under poverty after the collapse of local industrial giants ZiscoSteel and Steel Makers.
The L-shaped mansion is the composite of three houses put together to form one big house. To the left of the massive brick-and-mortar structure is a coterie of plush and big rooms. Inside are three bedrooms, complemented by a lounge, kitchen, dining and study rooms.
The same structure is taken up to the first floor in similar style. The structure overlooks the gate of the defunct Steel Makers which is on the opposite side of the road leading to Redcliff town centre from Kwekwe’s central business district. Directly facing the yet-to-be-fixed electric gate is the main house which has a single bedroom on the ground floor and has a vast parking garage area about 35 metres wide.
To cater for power outages, a heavy industrial-size solar system has been installed at the residence and its panels are held just higher than the brick perimeter fence. Construction of the house began in October last year and is now complete.
Technicians are currently seized with electric wiring and tubing. Rhinocet is also being placed on the interior walls at the moment. The house was built by a company called Mazano Pulze. Currently, foreign and local companies are jostling to clinch the contract for the painting of the mansion’s exterior.
One of the companies vying for the painting job is the South African-based Gamazine Paint firm which is headquartered at 18 Turffontein Street, Kenilworth, Johannesburg. It is an open secret in Redcliff that the new mansion belongs to Mnangagwa. Locals say he visits the residence regularly before he proceeds to Pondoroza air base, which is about two kilometres from the house.
Following a tip off, this reporter boarded a commuter omnibus from Kwekwe town, which was destined for Torwood, a locality near Redcliff. When the vehicle was about to approach the mansion, a passenger said his destination was “Pamainini” and was dropped off there.
The explanation for the name of the bus stop then corroborated earlier reports from residents in the area that President Mnangagwa is building the house for a concubine, hence the name “Pamainini” (younger wife). Redcliff mayor Clayton Masiyatswa confirmed that the house belonged to Mnangagwa. When asked if the land for the construction was donated by the council to President Mnangagwa as highlighted by sources, he said the land was paid for in full.
“They paid in full. You can get more information from the town clerk,” he said.
The opposition CCC Redcliff member of Parliament Loyld Mukapiko also confirmed that he is aware that the storied mansion under construction belongs to Mnangagwa. He however said people in Redcliff are generally angry about its development.
“What is being said about that house is that the President is building it for a girlfriend and given its high value people are angry that it’s a case of misplaced priorities. Redcliff has serious issues of water shortages, poor roads, unemployment, among others. So the general feeling is that the resources channeled towards the purpose of that house could have been channelled towards better things than to something so useless as building a house for a girlfriend,” he said.
Along the Harare highway, about three kilometres before the Kwekwe CBD, there is a commercial stand belonging to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, but it is registered in the name of Zanu PF Kwekwe senator Perseverance Zhou.
Currently the commercial stand has been cleared and awaits commencement of development, but it is not clear what business she intends to initiate there. Auxillia and Zhou are already long-time business partners. They registered in the past an entity called PPAC Investments which runs Kwekwe Recreational Park. PPAC is an abbreviation of first names of all the partners of that entity, (Perseverance) Zhou, (Pinky) Sibanda Auxillia (Mnangagwa) and (Cynthia) Kagoli.
On the CR14 document of that entity, Auxillia is however named using her maiden name, Auxillia Kutyauripo. A few metres from the stand there are business ventures owned by President Mnangagwa’s brother Patrick.
He owns a motor services plant called GTS Petroleum which is popular for wheel alignment, car sales and tyre services. There are several fuel filling stations nearby which are owned by other allies of the First Family such as gold baron Tinashe Shumba. Next on the same road leading to the Kwekwe CBD on the Harare highway there are business ventures of former State Security minister Owen “Mudha” Ncube.
He has constructed a fuel service station called Bulls Petroleum which began operating in 2021. Its construction was however mired in irregularities as it was done in the middle of a road that went to Indarama Mine on the outskirts of Kwekwe and therefore violated Kwekwe town planning.
On the site of the fuel service station there is a shop called Mumtaz Pit Shop which, again, belongs to Mudha. Next to Ncube’s illegally built filling station are 10 units of booking houses styled as chalets with each having about three rooms each.
They belong to Ncube as well, but are yet to open as construction is ongoing. In the middle of the bookings is a gigantic glassed night club whose construction is almost complete. When this reporter arrived at the place, builders were still making finishing touches to the night club that sits on about 600 square metres of land.
In Kwekwe’s CBD Kwekwe along Nelson Mandela Road that branches from the city centre to the south, Ncube has again constructed a huge a storied building of booking houses, as well as offices. The booking rooms are both upstairs and along a linear ground space.
His offices are housed at that building. Last year, Ncube bought double-storied Musopero beerhall in Mbizo which is one of the biggest taverns in the high-density surbub and held a celebration party which was attended by prominent figures in the gold-mining town. Similarly, in the past two years, Patrick Mnangagwa has been constructing a lodge at Mbizo 4 shopping centre which has now been completed and began operating towards the end of last year.
Across that business venture and about a kilometre away, there is Jessie Lodge, which belongs to Ncube and has been a hideout for Zanu PF criminals. Last year, ruling party thugs who murdered opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change member Mboneni Ncube were arrested while hiding inside Mudha’s lodge.
Ncube’s nephew, Energy Dhala Ncube, who was last month controversially elected to be the Zanu PF parliamentary candidate for Kwekwe Central, has also come out of his shell and started developing a commercial stand at Simbi Park business centre in Rutendo, near Redcliff.
This reporter visited the site and discovered that other business players at that centre are bitter about how he is carrying out the construction project as he has literally blocked a road used by the surrounding shops. The road has become impassable owing to his construction material including bricks and sand.
They say when they engaged him he boasted that he would not clear the area and did not care that his neighbours are bitter about the mess he has caused at the generally quiet business centre. The massive construction of buildings by Mnangagwa, his brother Patrick and Ncube has in the past year caused local shortages of building materials, especially cement, as they buy in advance all available stock, leaving other builders stuck and desperate.
Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya told The NewsHawks that businesses of the First Family and its allies are common knowledge in Kwekwe.
“It is common knowledge in Kwekwe that the First Family and honourable Ncube own a vast number of properties.
“Zanu PF’ s control of senior management at Kwekwe City Council, in particular the Town Clerk position since 1989, has enabled senior Zanu PF politicians to access land and properties at will at the expense of other law-abiding citizens.
“At the material time a corruption-free CCC government led by President Chamisa shall call for a lifestyle audit on all these looters of our wealth and failure to account for the same, shall result in the properties being forfeited to the state and respective individuals facing prison,” he warned.
Ant-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa executive director Obert Chinhamo also said his organisation was worried with the concurrent construction of the properties and questioned the source of income for such projects.
“Construction of the buildings or properties happened almost at the same time on the various locations in Kwekwe. Our worry is the source of the income used to build those properties at the same time. How does a person who used to be in government construct three huge buildings at the same time, and buys another very expensive property again at the same time? It is now even more worrying, given revelations of the Gold Mafia documentary that showed there are massive cartels of gold linked to the President,” he said.
Kwekwe mayor Future Titora of the MDC-Alliance led by Dougals Mwonzora refused to comment on whether the property empire of the First Family and its allies was acquired above board. He also refused to confirm whether they acquired the land in accordance with the laws.
“I have no comment on that one,” she said.
Ncube and the First Family wield fear on public figures, especially office bearers in Kwekwe who are often subjected to victimisation if they do not toe the line.