via Abuse of chefs’ names to make money under spotlight – The Zimbabwean 15 July 2015
The list of Zanu (PF) members who have abused the names of their seniors so as to extort multi-million dollar bribes from prospective investors or vulnerable people seeking protection continues to grow.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said people were using his name for personal gain and urged the police to arrest them. “They are thieves who are abusing my good name. I will not tolerate such things,” said Mnangagwa, following reports that a prominent farmer, Hendrick Olivier, had been approached by some individuals who demanded over $500 to facilitate a meeting with Mnangagwa. Olivier confirmed the development.
This is part of a growing series of revelations from within Zanu (PF) that its members are enriching themselves by using powerful people’s names.
Senior officials and ministers from Zanu (PF) are known to live luxurious lives and have amassed vast wealth over the years despite their official remuneration being low. Many of them have been accused of getting “filthy rich” by claiming that they could facilitate meetings with Mugabe and other key officials relating to investment – particularly in agri-business, telecommunications, mining, transport and aviation.
Some bribes have also been demanded from those wishing to invest in the telecommunications, transport, construction and energy sectors.
In late May, the Zanu (PF) Harare province youth chair, Godwin Gomwe and six other party officials were arrested on the allegation of extorting money from housing cooperatives using Grace Mugabe’s name. The trial is ongoing and the seven are being accused of claiming to the cooperatives that the land they planned to build on belonged to Grace and were forced to pay a total of $46,000.
In direct response to the Gomwe case, Mugabe, while addressing the party’s youth assembly in late June, described the acts of his subjects as “thuggery”. “Some leaders claim that the president has said this piece of land should be given to so and so, yet that is not the case,” he said.
Extortion has taken other forms over the years. Members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, some of whom have been arrested and convicted, have demanded bribes from private individuals and companies by merely flashing their official identity cards and claiming to be acting on behalf of ministers or the president.
In other cases, Zanu (PF) militias have moved around collecting thousands of dollars from poor vendors in the name of the party, saying they would have been sent by their leaders.