Mnangagwa, ‘Zimbabwe’s richest man’ and his ‘illicit’ mining exploitations

By: 
Gosebo Mathope
Source: 
The Citizen

Reputedly ‘Zimbabwe’s richest’ man, no amount has been attached to Mnangagwa’s wealth, which has allegedly also been supplemented by illicit mine deals in the DRC Congo.

Zanu-PF heir-in-waiting Emmerson Mnangagwa was a few years ago described as ‘Zimbabwe’s richest man’ by Wikileaks cables written by a US ambassador in 2001. The cables, however, shied away from estimating his wealth in numbers.

“Regarded as the wealthiest individual in Zimbabwe, Mnangagwa has close business links with Colonel Lionel Dyck, a white officer from the old Rhodesian army who founded Mine Tech, a landmine clearance company that secured lucrative contracts from the Zimbabwean government to clear landmines in Zimbabwe border areas after the war,” Wikipedia said in a post updated after Mnangagwa was appointed vice-president in December 2014.

Various sources, including Zimbabwean and UK media outlets, allege Mnangagwa made much of his money while he was secretary for finance in Zanu-PF.

This, according to the the United Nations Security Council reports in 2002 and 2003, was supplemented by his involvement as one of the illegal mineral exploiters in the Congo. The report named Mnangagwa in a long-standing United Nations investigation into the looting of the Congo’s mineral wealth.

The Wikileaks exposed lend credence to claims that as finance secretary, Mnangagwa controlled Zanu-PF’s octopus-like business empire spanning motor vehicles, duty-free shops, banking, airline catering, mining, retail, food processing, agriculture and manufacturing.

In the past, it was also reported Zanu-PF owned companies such as M&S Syndicate, Zidco Holdings and Zidlee Enterprises. In turn, the two companies reportedly owned stakes in FBC Bank, Lobels Bread, SMM Holdings, Catercraft and Tregers, among others.

Like most of Mugabe’s trusted lieutenants, he also allegedly seized a farm from a white owner called Koos Burger. Burger was forced to claim political asylum in the US due to death threats when he contested the seizure, the New Statesman reported at the time. Zimbabwe media also previously reported that Mnangagwa previously seized the 1 600-hectare Sherwood farm in Kwe Kwe without compensating its white owner.

Reports carried by Zimnowmedia and an author named ‘Amelia Johnson’ indicated that Zanu-PF acting president Mnangagwa’s private interests include retailers Jaggers and Metropeech, farms and mines. It was also alleged a lot of his businesses are run in partnership with white, ex-Rhodesian businessmen.

In 2004, the Zanu-PF politburo launched an investigation into reported massive theft of party funds. Former army commander General Solomon Mujuru was appointed to lead the investigations. Before he could present his final report to the politburo, Mujuru died in a mysterious inferno that has been blamed on Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa’s wealth was amassed while he earned an annual salary of $17 336 136 (about R243 304 000) as speaker of the Zimbabwean parliament, and reportedly also received $22 980 (about R322 460) representation allowances annually.

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