IN a rare public expression of his political opinion, Zimbabwean businessman, philanthropist and founder of the now defunct Kingdom Bank Kingdom, Nigel Chanakira, has warned the ruling party that it could perish if it fails to reform or promote the politics of inclusivity.
Zimbabwe held general elections last Wednesday in which incumbent leader Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly edged his closest rival Nelson Chamisa. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared the incumbent Mnangagwa as the winner of the 2023 presidential election after he got 52.6% of the vote. Chamisa received 44%, with the remainder being divided among leaders of smaller political parties.
Chanakira, who was once one of the poster boys of the black economic empowerment programme, expressed his feelings on what the election outcome meant to many Zimbabweans.
“The prevailing blatant and brazen corruption, intolerance, misappropriation of resources, hyperinflation and fragile exchange rate for all who care to see have led me to another fork in the road,” Chanakira tweeted after the polls.
“Nobody listens and cares anymore within the ruling elite. Like most Zimbabweans I used to be timid and private about my political views but I have now become more decisive and openly swayed in a different direction for the sake of our beloved country. Folks, we have to engage and dialogue much more with all politicians for a better Zimbabwe. Left alone they will not govern for the people both at national and local government levels but for themselves.
“Not that my opinion counts or has ever counted for much, but my prayer is that ZANU PF will reform itself further to become a modern, progressive and futuristic party that is not tone deaf and optics blind. Being a rural focused party that does not incorporate the urbanites, the middle class and independent thinkers plus not speaking truth to power, could be its demise.”
Chanakira said without dialogue nothing much will change in Zimbabwe.
“CCC as the main contending party remains in substance a movement that must now evolve to become a democratic party,” Chanakira said.
“They seem to listen more based on my personal engagement and skirmishes with them. My sagas with water, roads and vehicle clamping in Harare have yielded tangible results. Currently they depict some favourable alternative policies within their manifesto of being all inclusive, energetic and youthful.”
Chanakira led Kingdom Bank from humble beginnings to a leading indigenous financial services group before his exit. His efforts continue to be recognised as he had been awarded more than 17 local and international business awards.
He is the current executive chairperson of Success Motivation Institute (Zimbabwe) based in the capital.
Chanakira and four other partners founded Kingdom Bank in 1994. In 1999, Chanakira merged the bank with The Discount Company of Zimbabwe before listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
The new entity then acquired a stake in a foreign exchange bureau before merging with Meikles in 2007 to create Kingdom Meikles, one of the largest in Zimbabwe.
In October 2009, a dispute emerged with majority shareholders, and Chanakira decided to step down as CEO.
He then de-merged Kingdom from the Kingdom Meikles group in 2011 and formed Kingdom Financial Holdings. In 2013, Chanakira sold his 30% stake in AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe.