‘Poor par excellence’: Mugabe family enrages Zimbabwe

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By Webdesk

Harare, Zimbabwe – It was revealed this week that Bona Mugabe, the only daughter of Zimbabwe pioneer President Robert Mugabe, owns vast tracts of land in prime residential areas in the capital Harare, 21 farms, an $8 million mansion in Dubai and a fleet of luxury cars . And more.

The assets, named during the ongoing divorce proceedings between the younger Mugabe and her former airline pilot husband Simba Chikore, have sparked outrage in the South African country.

Mugabe, 33, and Chikore, 46, have been married for nine years. But earlier this year, Mugabe filed for the annulment of their union, citing irreconcilable differences.

Chikore, who is contesting the divorce, insists he is entitled to joint custody of the couple’s three children and some of the property the couple acquired jointly, should the Harare court grant the request.

The acrimonious divorce has shed light on the staggering wealth amassed by the longtime Zimbabwean ruler’s family, with court documents seen by Al Jazeera indicating there is an $80 million property portfolio in the ex-president’s family .

Chikore also listed numerous cars, including an $800,000 Rolls Royce and three Range Rovers, as some of the assets owned by the family. Bona’s lawyer, Fungai Chimwamurombe, confirmed the authenticity of the properties in the court documents to the press.

Zimbabweans took to social media angrily this week to protest the shocking revelations about the Mugabe family’s wealth.

“Mugabe was that dirty. Just a tip of the iceberg. Imagine what his other children and himself own, his uncles, aunts, rats, dogs and friends,” wrote one Facebook user, Gideon Baba Tyler Mtetwa.

‘Unconstitutional distribution of wealth’

Musa Kika, a lawyer and executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said Chikore’s claims, if proven “accurate and true”, would indicate an unconstitutional distribution of wealth “because of proximity to political power” .

“If it is proven to be true and accurate, it goes against the spirit of our constitution. Our constitution requires fair distribution of the finite resource of land and expressly states in section 293(2) that “the state shall not alienate more than one piece of agricultural land from the same person and his or her dependents,” Kika told Al Jazeera. . According to him, the term “alienate” includes both leasing and selling land.

Steven Chuma, the interim spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition Crisis, said the divorce case had proven that the land reform exercise was “never about landless majority, but was intended to enrich postcolonial state leaders themselves.”

The land reform exercise was a controversial campaign in the early 2000s by the elder Mugabe that seized land from white farmers for apparent redistribution to landless blacks.

Critics accused him of then reallocating the plots to friends and allies, and the accusations have resurfaced.

“The one man, one farm principle has been thrown into the dustbins by ZANU-PF [ruling party] looting committee,” Chuma told Al Jazeera.

‘Praud par excellence’

The latest revelations come barely two weeks after outrage over shocking revelations of large-scale gold smuggling by individuals associated with Zimbabwean government officials and the ruling party in an Al Jazeera documentary.

The four-part documentary, The Gold Mafia, was filmed by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit), based on dozens of undercover operations across three continents and thousands of documents.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who overthrew the late strongman in a military coup in 2017, has been the subject of scrutiny in recent months, with some questioning his role in the gold looting scandal.

Uebert Angel, a cleric appointed ambassador by Mnangagwa, was caught on camera offering to use his diplomatic position to smuggle and launder millions of dollars for Al Jazeera undercover reporters posing as Asian reporters.

And now some Zimbabweans are calling for similar inquiries to determine how Mugabe’s daughter acquired a wide range of assets.

“While Simba did well to list those properties as a settlement plan, it did reveal something to the world,” said Garikai Mazara, a former media personality. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the properties listed by Simba Chikore have been grossly obtained. So it is my fervent hope that the presiding judge in the divorce settlement, after dismissing the case, will have the presence of mind to ask how those properties were acquired. And then advise for a judicial investigation. Killing two birds with one stone, it is not without precedent.”

Others wondered how much wealth the Mugabe family had accumulated over the years.

“21 farms they own, what about the parents? Plunder par excellence! The liberation war was a waste of time if it produced this system! one Facebook user Eric Knight wrote.

“Many Zimbabweans today were shocked by the amount of land owned by Bona Mugabe in Borrowdale. For example, land has been stolen from Zimbabweans by corrupt ZANUPF politicians. The government applies for land from the municipality, after which it is handed over to corrupt ZANUPF politicians,” wrote journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.

Others attacked Mugabe for being a hypocrite while he was alive and in power.

“This divorce has opened a can of worms that Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a hypocrite and pseudo Pan-Africanist…scenes where huge amounts of land are looted,” Kerina Mujati tweeted.

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