CONFLATION between Zanu PF as a political party and the government spheres is deepening as shown by the increasing involvement in state activities by former vice-president Kembo Mohadi, The NewsHawks can report.
Mohadi resigned from the government in March 2020 following sex scandals and is currently a second secretary in the ruling party, but he has been playing official roles on behalf of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
He represented Zimbabwe at Tuesday’s funeral of ex-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo accompanied by eight aides.
The travel bill was picked up by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube using taxpayers’ money. In a rare incident considering strict gun control measures in Japan, Abe was assassinated on 8 July by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech.
He died aged 67 after having been Japan’s longest-serving leader when he resigned in 2020. Representing Zimbabwe, Mohadi was part of the strong 4 300 cosmopolitan gathering of mourners who included various world leaders like United States Vice-President Kamala Harris, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The former Beitbridge MP travelled on Sunday and was expected back home with his delegation on Thursday after blowing taxpayers’ money on travel, allowances, accommodation at plush hotels and living costs in Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said in a normal state there must be separation of party and state activities.
“The Mohadi trip is a disregard for separation of party and state businesses. In essence, this is the undermining of good governance by Zanu PF. A notable deterioration in Zimbabwe is how state and party businesses are all mixed up, which demonstrates how the so-called second republic has essentially undermined the state by its disregard of rules,” he said.
Professor Stephen Chan, a political analyst, told The NewsHawks that Zimbabwe failed to be properly represented at Abe’s funeral by sending Mohadi and, in the process, losing an opportunity for diplomatic engagement with Japan.
“One would have thought that sending someone with current authority — to lobby the Japanese and other leaders at an important funeral — was necessary. Abe was an incredibly meaningful world figure and, effectively, Zimbabwe was not represented at a proper level,” he said.
Before Mohadi could return to Zimbabwe from Tokyo, another revelation of his involvement in government activities emerged.
A leaked government document revealed that Mohadi was going to draw resources from the government.
Felix Chikovo, the acting chief director for traditional leaders support services in the ministry of Local Government was quoted in a memo dated 28 September directing the “acting director administration” to process fuel coupons for “pending department activities”. The activities include the installation of three chiefs — Nemanwa, Nemashakwe and Benhura — as well as a “selection meeting”, believed to be for Chief Chirumhanzu.
The four events were allocated 6 200 litres of fuel. On the third item of the memo it says that there will be a “VP Mohadi Tour of Mashonaland Central 4-12 October 2022” for which 1,960 litres of fuel would be allocated to Mohadi and his entourage.
The cost of the fuel allocated to Mohadi at the prevailing average market rate of US$1.55 per litre is approximately US$3 000. Mukundu decried the development.
“In a normal environment there is a clear separation of duties and state funds cannot sponsor party business,” he said.
During Mnangagwa’s reign, the state and party conflation in his leadership style became brazen ahead of the 2018 elections when he campaigned for his first term after grabbing power in the November 2017 military coup. It is captured in a journal titled “Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections: funding, public resources and vote buying,” by Musiwaro Ndakaripa, a research fellow in the Unit of Zimbabwean Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Rhodes University, South Africa, and a senior lecturer in history and political economy at the University of Zimbabwe.
The research paper points out that it is the state, party conflation that made Zanu PF win the elections.
Part of the journal that is accessed online after a certain payment, in its summary reads: “Using the concept of ‘competitive authoritarianism’, this briefing examines how the governing Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu PF) retained power in the July 2018 presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.”
“It advances that, having come to power through military assistance in November 2017, the new Zanu PF government instituted cosmetic political reforms to gain domestic and international legitimacy while maintaining financial networks and tentacles on public institutions.”
“This briefing posits that, with a huge funding base, abuse of public resources and massive vote buying, materially, Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections were heavily slanted in favour of Zanu PF.”
Stretching back from the Mugabe era the party-state conflation was evident in Zanu PF using state resources to fund its campaigns like buying regalia materials, including cars, using army helicopters to criss-cross the country, forcing national broadcaster ZBC to broadcast its activities during election time and forcing civil servants like military personnel and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives to drum up support in rural areas and harass political opponents.