Turmoil as controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo’s 100 Aqua cars donation sparks discomfort in Zanu PF

Kenyan leader President William Samoei Ruto, businessman Wicknell Chivayo and President ED Mnangagwa

CONTROVERSIAL businessman Wicknell Chivayo’s donation of 100 Aqua vehicles to the Zanu PF youth league has left some party bigwigs in discomfort amid accusations that he wanted to ‘buy his way into the top’.

Tongues were already wagging in Zanu PF over Chivayo’s close association with President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the businessman has been overshadowing ministers at State events.

A fortnight ago, he was with Mnangagwa at the Bulawayo International Airport welcoming Kenyan President William Ruto who was in the country to open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

A few weeks earlier during the Easter holidays, Chivayo also featured prominently while rubbing shoulders with the president at Zion Church of Christ function at Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi’s Mbungo church in Bikita.

Chivayo has been dishing out cars and cash to Mnangagwa’s loyalists thanking them for showing allegiance to Zanu PF through song, dance and other activities deemed to have played a role in Mnangagwa’s re-election in the disputed 2023 elections.

Sources said Chivayo’s donations were part of a wider plot to campaign for Mnangagwa’s third term bid.

Some Zanu PF members believed to be from a faction aligned to Mnangagwa have been popularising the slogan: “2030, vaMnangagwa vanenge vachipo” (Mnangagwa will still be in office), igniting turmoil in the party corridors.

On Friday, Chivayo said he had set aside US$850 000 to acquire 100 Toyota Aqua vehicles for distribution to party youths across the country’s 10 provinces

Chivayo said the vehicles would be distributed randomly to Zanu PF youths who campaigned hard for Zanu PF to secure victory in the 2023 elections.

Sources in the ruling party yesterday said Chivayo was now serving Mnangagwa’s personal interests and secretly campaigning for his third term bid.

“He is secretly campaigning for Mnangagwa’s third term bid while at the same time seemingly building his own power base,” a ruling party source said.

“He is now penetrating Zanu PF party structures.

“Very soon we will get into a situation where every musician, comedian, politician will campaign for Mnangagwa’s third term bid… who will want to be left behind because after the youth donation, he will be targeting the women leagues, main wing and so forth?

“With these kind of donations, even senior party members may be tempted to call him chef sooner rather than later.”

Sources said Mnangagwa was actively funding his transactional politics.

Zanu PF director of information Farai Marapira, however, said the party welcomed Chivayo’s donation.

“He has shown that he has utmost respect to Zanu PF and its leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has created billionaires in the country and is one of the beneficiaries,” he said.

“We had situations where multinational companies exploited our resources to benefit their countries whilst we remained in poverty, but now we have empowered ourselves thanks to our President Emmerson Mnangagwa.”

Centre for Research and Development CRD director James Mupfumi, said it was perplexing that Chivayo had not been made to account for his riches.

“Chivayo has the president’s endorsement in his donations to Zanu PF and other citizens,” Mupfumi said.

“The President occupies the highest office of public trust and has an obligation to explain to the nation his relationship with Chivayo, his source of funding and funding priorities in a nation grappling with acute economic hardships.”

Mnangagwa’s former advisor Eddie Cross recently said Chivayo was a nasty corrupt businessman during an interview with Heart and Soul TV.

Centre for Natural Resources and Governance (CNRG), Farai Maguwu, said police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must institute a lifestyle audit against Chivayo.

“I think in a normal country the police and anti-corruption units would be investigating the source of Chivayo’s money,” he said.

“We are witnessing a big scandal in the country at the moment where Chivayo has captured the politicians.”

Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said there was no credibility in Chivayo’s donations.

“Chivayo is a typical conman who is thriving under authoritarian rule,” Ngwenya said.

“There is no credibility in his donations. He has no political depth and he is buying favour from Mnangagwa,” he said

“However, the genuine Zanu PF supporters are going to be angry, especially the senior members.” The Standard.

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