By Alex Bell
As Zimbabweans continue to discuss the lavish wedding of Bona Mugabe over the weekend, it has emerged that the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) raised questions about her new husband.
Not much is known about 37 year old Simba Chikore, except that his mother is known as a “reverend” in a church group called the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa. It was also, until recently, claimed that he was a pilot.
But speculation has been rife since media reports were released that discredited the claims of his pilot status. Other reports also quoted a CIO official as branding Robert Mugabe’s new son-in-law as ‘unsuitable’ for the First Daughter.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Chikore does not work for either Emirates or Qatar Airways as widely reported. The paper stated that people in the aviation industry in Southern Africa have never heard of him.
Another report, this time by NewZimbabwe.com, quoted a junior CIO officer as saying that Chikore was a ‘playboy’ ill-suited to be Bona’s husband. The officer reportedly said Grace Mugabe’s “determination for the marriage to go ahead and her disdain for the country’s spy agency had prevented proper vetting of the First Son-in-Law.”
The unnamed CIO official was quoted as saying: “He (Chikore) is a workout addict and also much into bike riding. He is known for womanising from his high school days and recently involved in a spate of affairs which were glossed over by the (CIO) team that prepared the final report. This man was deemed too old for the first daughter and too tainted to be involved with her.”
The multi-million dollar ceremony lasted 18 hours and saw 4, 000 quests flying in from across Africa, including high level dignitaries and other friends of the Mugabe regime. This included Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Michael Sata of Zambia and Joseph Kabila of the DRC, whose daughter was allegedly Bona’s maid of honour.
Kabila and Nguema’s links to the Mugabe regime are already well known, and both leaders financially supported ZANU PF’s election campaign last year.
Also displaying his allegiance to the Mugabes was Arthur Mutambara, the former Deputy Prime Minister long accused of being a ZANU PF crony. He attended along with ZANU PF officials like Joice Mujuru. MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was not invited.
The presence meanwhile of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has riled many observers, after Zuma snubbed a memorial service being held to honour the late Nelson Mandela in London claiming to be too busy. He did however find time to be a guest at the Mugabe wedding.
Political commentator Clifford Mashiri said Zuma’s presence confirmed fears that he was not the neutral mediator Zimbabwe’s political crisis needed, during the tenure of the unity government.
“This confirms our fears that we had while he was mediating that he was not objective and that he was pro ZANU PF,” Mashiri told SW Radio Africa.
Mashiri went on to criticise the lack of indigenous business used for the wedding, with organisers from South Africa and caterers from Singapore called in for the event. Mugabe and his ZANU PF party have used ‘indigenisation’ as its main economic recovery theme, but Mashiri said the wedding has proven Mugabe to be a “hypocrite.”
“It is sad and says everything about the rhetoric of indigenisation. It is not about empowerment, but about ownership of shares by select people. Clearly Mugabe doesn’t trust Zimbabweans,” Mashiri said. SW Radio Africa