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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: The true archbishop of corruption in Zimbabwe

We are almost in July, a month without a heart given its chilly weather and breezy winds. July’s heartless winds can even have the temerity to lift the skirts of an old woman as she goes up the steps at the village church to greet her pastor, leaving the poor woman embarrassed. July the month is without a heart.

It appears July the person too can be equally heartless. Local Government minister July Moyo appears not to have a heart for the weatherbeaten citizens of this country. Yes, a heartless July. A July with no heart. July haana Moyo (no pun intended).

This is the week in which our heartless July mortgaged all councils to a dubious and corrupt tender worth over $32 million with a Belarusian underworld tycoon linked to Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa and his family.

The nation has been agog with July’s brazen corruption. But then, while we can all wail about July, we should know that a fish rots from the head. It is as clear as a goat’s behind that July is just but a symptom of a deeper corruption problem firmly located at the very apex of the State.

July is the same man who only last month tied Harare to a garbage, rotten corrupt deal. A true garbage deal, both literally and metaphorically. And that deal too was linked to yet another ED oligarch, one Delish Nguwaya.

It then becomes clear that ED himself is the true archbishop of sleaze in this country and our incompetent July is just but a mere pawn. Soon after he couped his way into office, ED went around all sorts of strange countries signing what he called mega deals, most of them which later linked him and his family.

Save to say in spite of these so-called mega deals, all we have seen on the ground is mega poverty engulfing the whole country.

Shona wisdom tells us it is always a vain effort to recoup or regather water spilt from a calabash. ( Yadeuka yadeuka mvura yemuguchu haidyorerwe ). Similarly, no Minister can recentralise unto himself powers which the Constitution itself has decentralised.

Under the devolution principle in Chapter 14 of the Constitution, councils and local government structures have powers to make their own decisions and certainly do not need government to withhold their devolution funds to buy overpriced fire tenders that the councils might not even deem to be a priority.

But it is very clear who will corruptly benefit from the over-priced fire tenders that will forcibly be supplied to all towns by one Alyaksandr Zingman, a close friend of the Mnangagwa family.

The same Zingman and one Kuda Tagwirei, yet another ED-linked oligarch, are also involved in supplying agriculture equipment and buses to Zimbabwe in other equally corrupt and shady government programmes.

It is clear ours has become a kleptocracy, a government of thieves. My only problem is that the nation has been making shrill noises about July Moyo’s corruption. I do not wish to absolve Moyo in any way.

But it is patently clear that Moyo is just a mere runner, a willing tool. If we are to truly “luke” the beast in the eye, the conclusion we should make is: It’s Mnangagwa stupid .

Forget all these deacons and lay pastors of corruption such as July Moyo. It is ED himself who is the true archbishop, nay the Pope, of corruption in Zimbabwe.

In the teary week that our suffering health workers engaged in a legitimate work stoppage, we are instead reading of a dubious fire tender scandal that has sucked in the First family. And yet the real fire that needs to be doused is the corruption flames enveloping the entire nation; the roaring flame of a government leader busy stealing while starving government employees are crying for more pay.

Today, I republish snippets of my earlier submissions in which I posit that all this talk about this or that Minister being corrupt is just but a mere sideshow. Everything points to the principal himself being at the epicentre of the national rot.

As a nation, let us not commit the cardinal sin of giving our wedding gifts to the bridal team when the dangling scarf on the groom’s neck is very clear on who should get them. It’s ED himself, and not his Ministers, who is archbishoping all these nefarious deals.

There is a pattern to the named oligarchs and their link to him and his family.

Our corruption problem is firmly located in the cockpit of the State. July Moyo is just but a symptom. Our corruption disease is called Emmerson Mnangagwa. In this country, corruption is our problem. Huwori ndiro Dambudzo (no pun intended).

A picture is a message

In July last year , after a frenzied moment of media glare in which their monumental corruption was exposed, corruption barons Ken Sharpe and Kuda Tagwirei rushed to State House for succour and sanatorium as they purported to be making donations to alleviate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on a despondent nation.

That they quickly rushed for photo opportunities with Mnangagwa as they pretended to be donating to a citizenry from whom they have stolen was just but a poor public relations stunt which only served to expose who their godfather was.

Mr Mnangagwa is the real granddad of corruption in this country. Tagwirei, Sharpe and many others may be deacons in this unmitigated looting spree but there is only one archbishop. And it is none other than Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In fact, it can even be convincingly argued that he is the Pope of this satanic church where the wicked gospel is looting, avarice and sleaze.

For starters, it was a PR disaster for a President, even an illegitimate one who stole an election, to be photographed with this tainted lot whose vast wealth has been confirmed to be a result of shady deals and corruption involving the President himself.

A prudent leader is never photographed with a nefarious lot from the corrupt underworld—– unless he is a citizen of the same underworld himself. For Tagwirei and Sharpe, their measly donations will not in any way cleanse their tainted names.

Their PR effort was a grossly inadequate response given the magnitude of the pitch-dark taint around their names, much like a boisterous fart that is hoped to douse a raging flame.

But then Mnangagwa’s poor image minders inadvertently let the cat out of the bag by allowing their equally tainted boss to be photographed with this infamous lot.

A PR practitioner of average competence would have known the consequence of exposing to the world a smiling President accompanied by this murky duo from the criminal underworld.

The optics of Mnangagwa in the company of these controversial men simply confirm that they are birds of the same feather with the President and that he acknowledges their nefarious business enterprises. Dzinofura nzivani as they say in the Shona proverb. Indeed, trees of the same height exchange monkeys!

But then what could one expect from an image minder of the calibre of George Charamba, himself a corrupt goon who has yet to account for and return the over US $200 000 that he looted from the Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS). Mnangagwa’s image guardian angel is himself corrupt, just like the boss.

Mnangagwa’s unbridled acts of corruption are a matter of public record. He has looted diamonds in the DRC and in Zimbabwe, his political acts of corruption have seen him villagising both the party and government by appointing cronies, kinsmen and kinswomen mainly from his Karanga tribe to strategic positions. He has also used State resources to purchase cheap political souls so that they transact surrogate politics for his own parochial and selfish interest.

In March last year, this column published a comprehensive list of over 30 names of Mnangagwa’s cronies, allies, tribesmen and blood relatives that he has appointed to strategic positions in the party and government. That unto itself is a crude act of corruption!

This week, I publish selected snippets from previous columns that show that Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa is the archbishop of corruption. Anyone else is a sideshow. It is Mnangagwa himself that is the true beast that ought to be “Luke-d” in the eye if we are to decisively deal with corruption in the country.

I will conclude by stating unequivocally that only a new government will provide us with herd immunity against the massive corruption now at the epicentre of the national rot.

Mnangagwa’s tenuous record of corruption .

They say a fish rots from the head. It all starts at the very apex of the national leadership of this country.

We all heard the shrill noises and the strong denials of the litany of corruption allegations implicating Mnangagwa and his family. Both the family and the Presidency claimed Mnangagwa and his family were just but victims of an avaricious, name-dropping criminal elite.

And yet the facts on the ground spoke to the active involvement of Mnangagwa’s office and family. Take for example the case of 6 kilograms of gold bullion found on Henrietta Rushwaya, a Mnangagwa relative, at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

Just how do you absolve Mnangagwa in a case that sucks in his wife, his son Collins and his close security team that includes Stephen Tserayi, Gift Karanda and Rafius Mupandauya?

Just who would have the guts to needlessly name-drop figures in the First Family when they are aware of the grievous consequences that could befall them, especially given ED’s malignant character and his infamously blood-soaked legacy?

In any case, how does one name-drop a name that is already wallowing on the canvas? For name-dropping assumes the name had some height of honesty in the first place.

Perhaps the biggest indictment and confirmation of Mnangagwa as the archbishop of corruption is the UN Report on the Plundering of the Democratic Republic of the Congo natural resources, a report done by the United Nations Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146). The report names what it calls ” an elite network ” of politicians that was at the epicentre of the plundering of the resources of the DRC.

Named in the report are Emmerson Mnangagwa, then the Speaker of Parliament as well as Sibusiso Buso Moyo, a military man who was then the director-general of COSLEG, a Congo-Zimbabwe Joint Stock Company that was the vehicle of the military-backed commerce involving mostly diamonds, banking and timber in the government-backed areas. The report also named Air Marshall Perrence Shiri, later to be appointed Minister of Agriculture and Rural Resettlement after the coup of November 2017.

The damming report reads in part:

” The key strategist of the Zimbabwe branch of the elite network is the Speaker of Parliament and former National Security Minister Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa …… A long-time ally of President Mugabe , Air Marshall Perrence Shiri has been involved in military procurement and organising air support for the pro-Kinshasa armed groups fighting in the Eastern DRC ….. Other prominent members of the elite network include brigadier-General Sibusiso Busi Moyo who is director-general of COSLEG . Brigadier Moyo advised both Tremalt and Oryx Natural Resources which represented Zimbabwean military and financial interests in negotiations with State mining companies of the DRC . ”

Given this association in what the UN alleges to be criminal activities in the DRC some 20 or so years ago, it is no wonder that Mnangagwa picked Moyo to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs in his Cabinet after the coup of November 2017.

This is the same Moyo who became a news anchor overnight and announced the military take-over on State radio and television in the last hours of Mugabe’s reign. It all amounted to a regrouping of a corrupt cabal.

If one adds other shadowy characters named in the report—personalities that are friends with Mnangagwa, among them Ahmed Said Thamer al Shanfari and the late John Arnold Bredenkamp, then the criminal elite becomes a full cast!

The same UN report also implicates the then Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi. The report states that it was Sekeramayi who wrote a memorandum to Mugabe in August 2002 proposing that a joint company between the ZDF and the DRC be set up in Mauritius to disguise the nefarious and highly corrupt military activities in the Congo.

Given the revelations in the report and his role, it is by no means surprising that despite being touted as the G40 Presidential candidate after Mugabe, Sekeramayi has been spared any form of reprisals by the criminal elite now running government.

He is one of them. Sekeramayi, who sits in Mnangagwa’s politburo, remains a troublesome but delicate irritant, more like a mosquito perched on the scrotum. You have to be careful how you squash it or else you injure yourself. Sekeramayi simply knows a lot.

Electoral corruption is one of Mr Mnangagwa’s area of expertise. Even before his much-vaunted electoral heist in 2018, Mnangagwa had done it before. It must not be forgotten that while Mugabe was holding a press conference at State House on Friday, 30 July 2013, nine years ago and on the eve of the 2013 election, it was Mnangagwa who pitched up on the State House lawn accompanied by none other than Emmanuel Antebbi.

Antebbi was the chief executive of Nikuv International, the Israeli company at the centre of the pilferage of the people’s will in Zimbabwe’s 2013 plebiscite. Mnangagwa was equally the archbishop of that huge electoral heist, having commanded the surreptitious payments to Nikuv International.


The nation can rant and rave about corruption in the country, naming this or that individual but the key player in corruption has always been Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Tagwirei may have a finger in every pie; he may be the country’s de facto Prime Minister but the kingpin, nay the archbishop of corruption, has always been Emmerson Mnangagwa. Delish Nguwaya, Zingman, Tagwireyi, Rushwaya all have links to ED and/or his family.

It only took this our crudely corrupt ED to take away the ancestral land of the Shangani people in Chiredzi to parcel it out to a Kwekwe friend of his, Neville Coetzee so he could grow lucerne grass for his dairy cows.

He has also appointed the corrupt Phillip Chiyangwa to head his party’s six member fund-raising committee ahead of the Zanu-PF 2023 election campaign; the same Chiyangwa who the Justice Tendai Uchena land probe committee said should be investigated by the police for his shady land deals. This is the corrupt lot that Mnangagwa keeps within the magnetic field of his stolen Presidential tenure.

And now he has doled out plush Mercs to comedians so that they can win the social media war for him. Yes, comedians are now part of his campaign team. And yet the corruption associated with him is no laughing matter.

There is no guessing as to who is the granddad and archbishop of corruption in Zimbabwe.

It’s Mnangagwa stupid!

Luke Tamborinyoka, a citizen from Domboshava, is an award – winning journalist and an ardent political scientist. He is also a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change ( CCC ). You can interact with him on his facebook page or on the twitter handle @luke_tambo.