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Simba Chikore’s Air Zimbabwe appointment stinks to high heaven

The recent appointment of Simba Chikore as the new chief operating officer at struggling national airline, Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) — which smacks of corruption and nepotism — stinks to high heavens.

Simba Chikore seen here with President MUgabe and wife Grace
Simba Chikore seen here with President MUgabe and wife Grace

Chikore, who is married to President Robert Mugabe’s only daughter, Bona, has no known management track record and his recent appointment could only worsen the situation at the struggling parastatal.

While we are not against the First Family’s son-in-law getting employed, we firmly believe that Zimbabwe has a lot of qualified people — with proven track records — who were prejudiced from getting the top job at AirZim due to nepotism and political connectedness.

Even Transport minister Joram Gumbo dismally failed to defend Chikore’s appointment as no amount of justification will make this appointment morally right.

Gumbo spoke of a lot of experience Chikore is said to have in the aviation industry gained initially at AirZim, and subsequently with international airlines like Qatar, adding that he was satisfied his credentials actually surpassed the required qualifications.

If only that were true, Chikore would have successfully turned around waning fortunes at Gushungo Dairy, which is on the verge of collapse.

We are constantly bombarded with instances where Gushungo Holdings would be dragging its employees to court for theft, exposing the company’s failure to pay its workers as a result of depressed sales.

Wouldn’t it have been better for Chikore to put his “skills” to work and grow his father-in-law’s crumbling empire before embarking on the arduous journey of reviving the struggling national airline?

At the moment, the national airline, which is suffering from legal issues and a $300 million debt — a situation attributed to government’s interference and lack of shareholder support — is struggling to service the few aircrafts at its disposal while workers have gone for months on end without salaries.

We strongly agree with People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume who aptly summed up Chikore’s appointment as an “April’s fool joke in October”.

“The man has not run even a chicken-run in his life. His only qualification is being the son-in-law to the president. We know Mugabe uses the airline as his personal transport but, surely, this has consolidated our status as a kangaroo republic,” Mafume said.

What this significantly means is that Mugabe and Zanu PF do not care about reviving parastatals but are only bent on milking the few moneys left in these State-owned companies.

This culture of cronyism that began in the 1980s has ensured the death of many parastatals, including the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Grain Marketing Board, Cotton Company, Cold Storage Company, National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and Zesa Holdings among others. Daily News

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