$140 million: Zanu PF’s illegal deals exposed…As ruling party plots to bury Chamisa in 2023 polls

President Mnangagwa and Vice President Chiwenga

Zanu PF has set a target of raising US$140 million for the 2023 election campaign, just days after a new report accused the party of “mortgaging” the country’s minerals to finance its past campaigns.

Zanu PF has established a fund-raising committee with some sleazy individuals to raise the war chest, led by businessman Phillip Chiyangwa who was recommended for police investigation by the Justice Uchena report on ‘The Sale of State Land in and Around Urban Areas Since 2005’.

Chiyangwa is joined on the committee by Grain Millers Association president Tafadza Musarara, who was last year accused by MPs of getting US$28 million from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for grain imports which were never delivered.

Gold dealer Codes Scott Sakupwanya, Zvishavane trucker Antony Pote, socialite Zodwa Mkandla and Evaristo Mudhikwa also sit on the committee, which will report to Zanu PF’s secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa.

“It is imperative that the party mobilises adequate financial resources to win the 2023 harmonised elections resoundingly,” Chinamasa said, adding that Chiyangwa has “requisite experience in such a unique mobilisation task.”

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Chiyangwa said he wanted “Zimbabweans to support the ruling party Zanu PF, and to make contributions.”

“I’m happy to be appointed as the Resource Mobilisation Committee chair for the party, our mandate is to raise more than US$140 million,” he told the Herald.

A report by the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) released last week claimed Zanu PF paid US$990 million in bribes to SADC leaders and regional liberation movements to endorse the disputed 2013 elections.

Locating Zanu PF as a beneficiary of illicit election funding, researchers for the report titled Mortgaging the Future in Return for Power, found that Zanu PF was selling off mining claims and minerals to a shadowy network of shelf-companies that eventually delivered the proceeds back to Zanu PF in the form of election funding.

“Official documents gleaned by the research team covering the July 31, 2013, elections give a window to understanding how Zanu PF election funds are sourced and the individuals or companies responsible for underwriting its huge election expenses,” the paper reads.

“According to the report, a great part of the budget, 67 percent, which amounted to US$2.01 billion, went towards the presidential campaign while US$990 million went towards ‘regional diplomacy’ (SADC chair, liberation movements) to drum up ‘support for poll credibility before, during and after elections.’

“The so-called ‘regional diplomacy’ is nothing but a euphemism for bribes paid to the SADC chairperson, then-President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and liberation movements in the SADC region to proclaim legitimacy to the elections whose credibility Zanu PF anticipated was going to be questioned.”

A Joint Operations Command (JOC) document acquired by the researchers revealed that US$800 million was provided by Chinese miner Anjin and Mbada Diamonds in exchange for tax-free diamond mining rights in Marange, Manicaland province, where vast alluvial diamonds fields where discovered by artisanal miners before the area was violently taken over by the military in 2008 after 35,000 fortune hunters descended on the area. Over 200 were killed.

“The internal document from the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) director general’s office, dated May 23, 2013, shows that a total of 16,000 carats were shipped out of Zimbabwe to Angola and Hong Kong between April 4, 2013, and May 10, 2013, and a total US$58 million was realised from the illicit sale of the gems,” CNRG said, appearing to confirm accusations by then finance minister Tendai Biti that Anjin was not remitting diamond proceeds to treasury.

“A further 20,000 carats were shipped out of Zimbabwe to Angola between May 11 and 16, 2013, for an undisclosed fee.

“The same internal CIO document clearly states that the money raised was for ‘Special Interests Projects’ (elections) and part of the shipment was taken to Number 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, ‘on behalf of the Special Interests Projects’ by Air Vice Marshal H. Muchena who, according to another security document, headed the Zanu PF Commissariat together with retired director, Counter Intelligence, Sydney Nyanungo.”

Muchena and Nyanungo are also accused of presiding over a violent quasi-military operation code-named ‘Operation Return to Zanu PF’ funded by the US$800 million provided by Mbanda Diamonds and Anjin.

The researchers also link the violent 2008 presidential run-off to illicit election funding which was used to sponsor the violence.

According to a quoted Zanu PF informant, Bokai Mine (Todal Mining (Pvt) Limited) was sold for US$175 million to the Central African Mining and Exploration Company (CAMEC) through an intricate web of shelf companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Zanu PF, through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, “benefitted a quick-fire of US$100 million from the sale which they used for the bloody June 27, 2008, presidential election run-off”.

“The same source revealed that Billy Rautenbach, through Meryweather Investments Limited, got US$75 million from CAMEC in addition to coking coal mining rights in the Hwange Western Areas that he was given by the government of Zimbabwe for arranging the deal.”

Within a month of purchasing Bokai mine for US$175 million, CAMEC valued it at US$1 billion.

“This means that the government of Zimbabwe was prejudiced of US$825 million because of the illegal and desperate sale of the mine,” the researchers said.

“What is clear from the documents is that the Mbada Diamonds deal, just like the Bokai mine deal that funded the 2008 presidential run-off, was structured in a way that involved a lot of shelf companies registered in the British Virgin Islands to obfuscate the ownership structures in a way to suggest there were a lot of things that ZMDC, the government of Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF wanted to conceal.”

Zimbabwe’s political parties are banned from receiving foreign funding. State funding for political parties represented in parliament is too little to support a national election campaign.

The CNRG researchers said this shortfall is funded by “business interests and cartels who pour in money into political parties’ campaigns in return for business contracts if a political party wins elections and forms the next government.”

“As a result, dirty funds have found ways into political parties’ finances, posing many challenges and threatening both democracy and the allegiance that elected officials should ideally have towards the electorate,” the report concluded.

South African businessman Zunaid Moti, who was in a chrome mining venture with Zimbabwe’s military, according to the report, bought Zanu PF 150 twin-cab trucks which were given to parliamentary candidates for the 2018 elections. Other vehicles were reportedly financed by Zanu PF benefactor Kudakwashe Tagwirei.

Zanu PF’s use of state power to raise funding, the report said, created an uneven playing field with opposition parties running on threadbare budgets.

Former minister and Zanu PF Politburo member Jonathan Moyo – now living in exile – said recently that some of Zanu PF’s election funding came from foreign governments.

“Generally speaking, Zanu PF funding is from or through state enterprises and the mortgaging of mineral or hunting concessions,” Moyo said.

“The party also receives donations from foreign governments and I know from past experience it got donations from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela and Iran.

“The donations are usually in cash collected by charter flights through the military and the Central Intelligence Organisation. While Zanu PF is the supposed recipient, truth is the money is always controlled by the individuals who source it. Mnangagwa, Obert Mpofu, Saviour Kasukuwere, Constantino Chiwenga, Sibusiso Moyo and Happyton Bonyongwe were key collectors in the (Robert) Mugabe days.”

Meanwhile, Zanu-PF is targeting to mobilise about five million voters ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Addressing students from tertiary institutions in the Midlands province during a provincial students’ convention held at Kwekwe Polytechnic College recently last year, ex Zanu political commissar Cde Matemadanda said the party intended to win by an outright margin to avoid squabbles that have proved costly to national development.

“As Zanu-PF we are targeting to mobilise five million voters come 2023. What this means is that we are going to win by not less than 65 percent in the Presidential race,” said Cde Matemadanda back then.

Mnangagwa controversially beat his main rival Nelson Chamisa by a razor-thin margin in 2018 presidential elections and since then the two protagonists have been brawling with Chamisa refusing to call Mnangagwa president.

Chamisa claims that he was robbed of his victory by ZEC which worked together with Mnangagwa to rig the elections. This came after ZEC revised Mnangagwa’s figures three times downwards after Chamisa approached ConCourt.

— ZimLive/MyZimbabwe

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