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Mnangagwa’s controversial business ally Zingman goes underground after ordeal

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba has made a series of controversial remarks about the arrest and release of his boss’ dodgy business partner Alexander Zingman, Zimbabwe’s honorary consul in Belarus.

BERNARD MPOFU
“The Belarusian Foreign Ministry confirms release of businessman Alexander Zingman in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He didn’t face any charges,” an official statement said after his release on Wednesday.

Zingman’s company AFTRADE had expressed public concern on his dramatic arrest with two colleagues and whereabouts. From there, Zingman headed home and went underground, sources in Minsk said.

Zingman was arrested in Lubumbashi, southern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on 17 March following a secret meeting with former president Joseph Kabila.

He was on his way to Zimbabwe, one of his favourite business hunting grounds at the moment. Kabila had previously met with Mnangagwa in Harare on 2 March against a backdrop of his nasty fallout with President Felix Tshisekedi. Kabila has sent envoys across Africa, the African Union and United Nations over the renewed crisis.

Zingman was arrested as he traversed the DRC amid growing political tensions and hostility between Kabila and Tshisekedi.

Kabila’s ally, General John Numbi, has run away to seek refuge in Zimbabwe. It is said 1 800 troops had been deployed around his home area before that. Numbi is accused of killing a human rights activist before fleeing.

“Numbi is close to former president Kabila. Should he be worried by new revelations in the Chebeya-Bazana case?” the Africa Report asked.

“Is it just co-incidence that 1 800 soldiers have been deployed to Katanga, where he lives? A portrait of a general as influential as he is feared…

“Holed up on his farm in Lubumbashi ever since he lost his army post last July, can Numbi sense a change in the wind?”

For nearly 11 years now, the double murder of leading human rights activist Floribert Chebeya and of his driver, Fidèle Bazana, has hovered over the head of this 59-year-old general.

Charamba on Wednesday jumped to the defence of his boss’ controversial Belarusian tycoon. Zingman, also a United States citizen, was released after two weeks in jail.

“You guys invent controversies! There is nothing controversial about Mister Alexander Zingman. What was controversial was his arrest and detention in DRC, an action which the DRC President has since regretted. Incidentally, I hope you know Mister Zingman is also a holder of US,” Charamba said on social media, reacting to The NewsHawks post.

“…Passport, which is why Russia, Belarus, America and Zimbabwe sought to understand DRC actions.
“Incidentally, you may want to check your timelines; he didn’t spend as long in illegal detention. He spent more time debriefing different missions which had an interest in his unfortunate arrest! Is it not interesting that no charges were raised against him? Why is that not?”

Tshisekedi is close to Rwandan strongman Paul Kagame who is close to Mnangagwa.

Kabila is close to Mnangagwa, but an enemy of Kagame.

This puts Mnangagwa in a quandary as to who to help and how in the DRC’s political maelstrom.

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