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Silence, reaction over Zec scam betrays arrogance

THE reaction and silence by key players implicated in the massive Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) scandal shows arrogance, and how corruption is eating into state institutions under the Zanu PF government, an analyst says.




THE reaction and silence by key players implicated in the massive Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) scandal shows arrogance, and how corruption is eating into state institutions under the Zanu PF government, an analyst says.

Zec and its supplier Ren-Form issued statements denying any wrongdoing in the corrupt US$40 million tender scandal despite overwhelming evidence showing corruption.

Some of the key actors in the deal like businessman Wicknell Chivayo and Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba have also denied involvement in corrupt activities, while some like Chief Secretary to Cabinet Martin Rushwaya and Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo have kept quiet.

Analysts say these postures reflect more of their arrogance rather than their rights to reply or remain silent.

Skeletons have been tumbling out of the closet of the corrupt US$40 million Zec deal, that involves controversial tenderpreneur Chivayo and top government officials, close to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Some of the corrupt transactions involve movement of money on behalf of Zec from Zimbabwe’s Treasury to Better Brands and Ren-Form accounts in South Africa where it is distributed to beneficiaries so far identified by Chivayo as Mike Chimombe, Moses Mpofu, Pedzai “Scott” Sakupwanya, the owner of Better Brands, Chigumba and  Moyo.

In a leaked audio, Chivayo says US$1 million had been sent to Better Brands Security (Pty) in South Africa into an FNB Account No. 63039713525, Sandton branch, held by Better Brands Security (Pty) Ltd, a South African registered entity owned by gold baron Scott Sakupwanya.
Chivayo says out of the US$1 million received, Sakupwanya was going to get US$350 000; himself US$150 000; Mpofu US$150 000; Chimombe US$150 000; “Moms vaya” (meaning Zec chairperson Chigumba) US$100 000; and “DG” (referring to the state security agency, Central Intelligence Organisation ‘CIO’ Director-General Issac Moyo) US$100 000.

However, in the midst of the heat, the key players implicated have said nothing, with only Chivayo struggling to clear his name after a leaked audio in which he says Mnangagwa is certainly now under his vice-like grip and control, thus he can get anything from him that he wants.

After a leak of the revealing audio, which The NewsHawks was availed weeks before its release, Chivayo claimed that it was a deep fake.

“It has been brought to my attention that there are voice messages purportedly being attributed to me which are circulating on various social media platforms,” reads part of the statement he made on X.

“I categorically refute, deny and dismiss with contempt, recording the voice messages in question. For the avoidance of any doubt I have never, at any material time, recorded the alleged voice messages, neither have I transmitted such to anyone.”

Chivayo and his business partners have been telling their circles those are the kingpins of the deal.

No one has denied this openly, except Chigumba who replied to The NewsHawks questions, through Zec deputy chair Rodney Kiwa, saying: “Your questions were forwarded to the Hon. Zec chairperson who in turn requested me, as Zec spokesperson, to appraise you with the commission’s position: ‘The commission does not breathe life to fiction’.”

President Mnangagwa has not said anything, and no investigations have been ordered by Parliament.

More officials have been involved. For instance, to pull the deal off, the businessmen needed Zec officials to cooperate, and this meant that Zec chairperson Chigumba had to be roped in and she got involved, as part of the negotiators.

The Office of the President and Cabinet was also involved through Chief Secretary Martin Rushwaya, who was the point man, and other bureaucratic functionaries.

At Zec, the contact person was chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana, although Chigumba handled the negotiations.

For the deal to pass security checks, it had to be cleared by the CIO whose director- general is Moyo.

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu says the silence by the implicated people shows arrogance by government officials, reminiscent of the Gold Mafia documentary.

“It is the same template as gold mafia, only that the Chivayo story has implications on Zec and security services integrity. Essentially these are now entities facilitating corruption. Not commenting or speaking about this does not make the situation better but shows the arrogance and how corruption has ravaged Zim under the Zanu PF leadership,” Mukundu told The NewsHawks.

The investigation by Qatari news channel Al Jazeera showed how different gold smuggling syndicates looting gold and salting away proceeds to offshore accounts have been linked to Mnangagwa; including his envoy and ambassador-at-large Uebert Angel, a self-styled prophet who is a key interlocutor throughout the documentary, Rikki Doolan, Ewan Macmillan, Kamlesh Pattni and Alistair Mathias, all smuggling kingpins.

Pattni, who almost bankrupted Kenya in the 1990s through a gold scandal which cost the Treasury US$600 million, reveals he makes payments to Mnangagwa as “appreciation” every two weeks through his young brother to enable him to smoothly carry out his gold and money laundering operations in Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia, the First Lady, and his gold baron Sakupwanya were also implicated, with Auxillia discussing gold smuggling in the video.

While other implicated people have been trying to clear their names, Mnangagwa has remained tight-lipped, raising concern on his willingness to stamp out graft.

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu told The NewsHawks that Mnangagwa’s silence did not proffer a solution to the suspense created by the ground-breaking findings over action on smugglers.

“I think the President has spoken very loud and clear by his silence. It clearly indicates the levels of impunity and disregard for decency in this country, that when high-level corruption is talked about, the head of state is quiet,” he said.

“So, for me, that is a finger that is being pointed to the people of Zimbabwe, the middle finger that there is nothing you can do. And it is the saddest part of this whole process that there is no leadership, because leadership should have come out to clearly say that there is something wrong and we need to address.”

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