Mugabe son-in-law bares soul

By Xolisani Ncube | Zimbabwe Standard |

Former president Robert Mugabe’s son- in-law has come out guns blazing in defence of the Zimbabwe Airways deal, saying he is only doing a service to his country and is not on a self-enrichment exercise.

Mrs Bona Chikore (centre) and her husband Mr Simba Chikore (2nd from right)
Mrs Bona Chikore (centre) and her husband Mr Simba Chikore (2nd from right)

Simba Chikore, who is married to Mugabe’s daughter Bona, has been at the forefront of setting up Zim Airways, an airline the government claims was being established to complement the struggling Air Zimbabwe.

Transport minister Jorum Gumbo and Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa have struggled to explain the rationale behind the setting-up of the airline amid speculation it was a Mugabe family venture.

However, Chikore told The Standard in an exclusive interview yesterday that Mugabe was not involved in the setting-up of the airline and that he was only providing technical expertise.

“That’s the extent to which we can say the former president was involved. When you talk about me, I am a professional and I am not going to go around trying to defend myself, people will know the truth and people are smart enough,” he said.

“If people are interested they can go to the registrar of companies to see who owns the company, they’ll see the CR40, they’ll see the CR6, they will see the stakeholder, and my name is not there.

“The company itself belongs to the government of Zimbabwe, the proof is there and it’s public knowledge.

“I don’t have to go loud and say they are not my planes. In fact, where would I get that kind of money to buy the aircraft?

Chikore spoke as aviation experts continued to ask questions about the government’s deal to buy two planes from Malayisia that were grounded for sometime.

“Those planes were grounded for a long time,” said one of the sources. “Malaysia just wanted to get rid of them.

“Basically, they had decommissioned them, which makes this transaction a distressed sale.

“They, therefore, would have been happy just to give them away for free and the new owners taking over the repayments.”

The expert said there was no way Zimbabwe would have in the next few years, the capacity to fully utilise four B777.

He said the routes being proposed for Zim Airways were not viable using the aircraft bought from Malaysia.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reportedly asked Transport minister Gumbo for answers on the deal.