Mugabe son-in-law gets top AirZim post

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore, has been appointed Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer (COO), effectively becoming second-in-command at the ailing national airline.

Source: Mugabe son-in-law gets top AirZim post – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 5, 2016


Not much is known of Chikore or his credentials although he reportedly has an aviation industry background. Chikore married Mugabe’s daughter, Bona in March 2014.

AirZim board chairperson Chipo Dyanda confirmed Chikore’s appointment yesterday.

“It’s true, Chikore is the new COO,” she said.

He joins the growing list of members of the First Family who have landed top government posts, with Mugabe’s critics saying the appointments smacked of nepotism and a sinister plot to entrench a culture of patronage.

Other close Mugabe relatives occupying top government posts include the President’s nephews Patrick Zhuwao (Indigenisation minister) and Albert Mugabe (Zinara board chairman).

Chikore’s appointment comes barely two months after the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s son, Ripton, was appointed AirZim’s chief executive officer. The appointment places Chikore at the heart of the struggling national airline.

It could not be immediately confirmed whether Chikore has the minimum 10 years’ experience in a senior managerial position, as required for the post.

Critics have accused Ripton of surrounding himself with a team of unqualified loyalists to safeguard his longevity at the institution.

Chikore’s appointment came as controversy rages over the Dema Diesel Power Plant, where his brother, Derrick, is said to have won a multi-million dollar contract without going to tender.

Opposition MDC-T spokesman Obert Gutu said: “This is an extremely sad development. It proves that the State has been privatised. It is now being controlled by a Mugabe dynasty.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume described Chikore’s elevation as “a bad joke”.

“It is yet, but one sign that we are a kangaroo republic,” he said.

“The young man has no experience of running anything in his life, he has not even run a chicken run. To expect him to be in charge of a national airline, as COO, would have been a good April Fools’ Day joke and yet we are in October.”

Zimbabwe People First spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire said: “We understand that Chikore has never been the most senior of pilots at AirZim or Qatar Airways where he worked. The fact that he left Qatar Aiways to take a supervisory job at Alpha and Omega does not speak of an individual who envisaged professional growth within the aviation industry and there are many captains at AirZim, his seniors, who are better qualified for the job, who would naturally feel cheated by this blatant nepotism by the Mugabe administration. It is sad that Mugabe is appointing his relatives into government and State-run companies with reckless abandon,” he said.

AirZim is saddled with a $300 million debt and is only running with four planes to service domestic routes and three regional destinations after pulling out of all international routes for fear of having its planes attached over outstanding debts.

The national airline has since applied to the Transport and Infrastructure Development ministry seeking to have its debt taken over by the State.

AirZim is also seeking government’s approval to enter into negotiations with strategic partners to expand its destination network and revamp its operations.

The national carrier is on the market for several executives, among them finance, flight operations, maintenance, corporate services, corporate quality, safety and security, airlines systems and administration managers.


  • comment-avatar
    Joe Cool 6 years ago

    This is so ridiculous as to be amusing.

  • comment-avatar
    Barry 6 years ago

    That’s one airline I won’t be flying without a parachute.

  • comment-avatar

    So AirZim want their $300m debt to be passed onto to Government so taxpayers can pay for Mugabe and family’s past travels!! Thats ridiculous. AirZim should sell off its remaining fleet and close down if there is noone who can manage better.

  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 6 years ago

    Having not been in the ZimAir boardroom, I know little about the internal management at the airline. However, being a pilot, I know two things in the aviation industry… maintenance is critical, and it’s non-existent at ZimAir. Every day, they put their Chinese junk in the air on a wing and a prayer, and not much more. Every day, the flight crews squawk items that need repair, but the maintenance crews can only pencil the repairs because they don’t have the spare parts… management hasn’t even paid for the few parts they do have. I’m surprised SA even allows those plane in its airspace… UK, EU, CN, US absolutely would not.

    As for Chikore, this is no different than all the other parastatal management appointments… untrained, unqualified, incapable people put in positions for political reasons. The difference this time is that lives are at stake… the crews and the passengers, and perhaps some on the ground.

    I have flown ZimAir, but never again… parachute or no parachute. I’ll die sooner or later, but I’d rather it not be from falling out of the sky.

    • comment-avatar
      Joe Cool 6 years ago

      Right – but no different really from Zinara, where Mugabe’s nephew is in “control”, and a lot of lives are at stake on our derelict roads. Maintenance is an alien concept around here, and is scorned almost as much as discipline.

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    Tsotsi 6 years ago

    I remember the arrival of the three Boeing 720 aircraft for Air Rhodesia in 1973. The pride and excitement felt as the national carrier joined the jet age. Air Rhodesia ran an active (solvent) service all over Southern Africa, and you could fly to Kariba, the Falls, Buffalo Range, Umtali.
    Now? You arrive at Harare ‘International’ and stare directly at dilapidated wrecks of aircraft and rusting hangars. It’s embarrassing. There is absolutely no attempt to even try and hide the decay.