By Itai Mushekwe
Malaysia has offered State protection and a safe haven for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, should he deem it necessary to retire in Asia, Nehanda Radio has been told.
Kuala Lumpur is also a strong destination of choice for Mugabe and his young family, in the likely event that Zimbabwe descends into political anarchy after the pending June elections, or should civil mayhem reign supreme if the 89 year old decides to leave office.
“Your leader (Mugabe) can permanently locate to Malaysia because he has a home here,” said a reporter with Malaysiakini, a leading political news website.
“It’s no secret that he is ever welcome to stay, because he is a good friend of the political establishment. Apart from that his family also has business interests not only in Malaysia, but across the continent.”
Nehanda Radio has learnt following a lead from media colleagues in Malaysia that, Mugabe and his wife Grace own a hideous multi-million dollar mansion in Malaysia, which he purchased in cash in 2004.
Although the Malaysiakini fails to give the financial costs and full details of the villa, we have been told it has gobbled up £2,4m of the battered tax-payer money in Zimbabwe.
The price tag in Malaysian Ringgit was 12 million, which according to the XE Currency converter, converts to US$3,8m money which can be used to import substantial amounts of fuel for the economy, medical equipment for hospitals, or water treatment chemicals to make available clean drinking water in Harare and across the municipalities of the country.
“Mugabe’s luxurious mansion is located in Bukit Tunku in Kaula Lumpur, that is what we all know but none of us has been invited there,” said a diplomatic staffer at the Zimbabwean Embassy.
“The mansion we have established was bought for 12 million Malaysian Ringgit. Bukit Tunku is one of the most expensive elite residential areas here, most of the home owners are senior ministers, businessmen and royalties.”
Bukit Tunku is famed for being the Beverly Hills of Malaysia, and is somewhat similar to Harare’s posh Borrowdale Brooke enclave housing the country’s powerful elites, where residents share almost the same address but with different house numbers and unique security provisions.
Mugabe in fact has his capital residence next to Borrowdale Brooke, which has been sealed as a high security zone and no go area.
The Zanu PF leader’s mysterious mansion has been a tight-lipped secret for years now, but sources in Malaysia say he is planning to make the Far East his second home, although he has confided with his inner circle of the desire to be buried home when he dies.
It has also come to light that the Mugabes are always visiting their Asian home regularly, especially during Christmas holidays and the many medical trips which Mugabe has been taking lately to cure postrate cancer and an eye cataract in Singapore and Malaysia.
The ailing leader and his wife are also regular attendees of the Langkawi International Dialogue business forum, and in healthier times they both frequented The Malaysian Grand Prix Formula One games at the Sepang International Circuit.
Other grounds which have been cited for Mugabe’s possible move to Kaula Lumpar include: “His sensitive medical condition, family businesses and investments in numerous Asian countries, and more importantly the safety of family members in a post era of his rule.
Mugabe’s daughter Bona, is studying for a masters degree in Hong Kong, and her siblings are likely to pursue studies here in Asia,” Malaysian sources said.
Ironically, Mugabe also has a Malaysian doctor, Mahmood Awang Kechik, a urologist who works as his physician and business advisor. Awang Kechik has been instrumental in keeping Mugabe’s health in check. The doctor reportedly had oversight of the despised statesman’s cancer treatment in Malaysia recently.
This is not the first time Malaysia has been caught up in controversy, in 2004 former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed, a close friend of Mugabe donated timber worth RM100 000, about £20 000 for the panelling of his headquarter mansion in Harare. The 44 acre landscaped mansion has 25 rooms, a state of the art radar system and is clad with Chinese-style roofing.
Mugabe can be assured of a safe haven in Malaysia, and financial security following the informal residence in that country of one of his under-cover bankers Enoch Kamushinda, a former chief executive of Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe who now manages several business portfolios in Malaysia on behave of the Mugabe family.
The Mugabe’s have also reportedly acquired a £4m mansion in Hong Kong, but have defused the allegations as unfounded, maintaining that the property is being rented for Bona.
Current Malaysian Prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, seems to have confirmed the preparedness of his country to offer Mugabe a sanctuary, after he invited Mugabe and Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir for the yearly Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) two years ago, arguing that:
“We are not yet a member of the Statute of Rome.”
The Rome Statute, is a global treaty governing against war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. Mugabe and Al-Bashir both stand accused of gross crimes against humanity, with the latter being a wanted man by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes in his country.