Mugabe Family Struggles to Adjust After Funding Cuts

GOVERNMENT has made drastic cuts to former president Robert Mugabe’s travel expenditure after the ousted long-time leader and his family flew out of Harare to Singapore this week, nearly a month after his 37-year term came to a dramatic end following a soft military coup. This comes as it emerged that Mugabe spent US$32,1 million on foreign trips between January and September this year against an annual budget of US$20,6 million. The Office of the President and Cabinet also spent US$1,1 million on domestic travel as of September against a budget of US$650 000. Officials close to this situation also revealed the former leader’s security team at his Borrowdale “Blue Roof” mansion was also reduced from 85 to 20.
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  Sources familiar with developments at Mugabe’s mansion told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the nonagenarian was granted the presidential Air Zimbabwe aircraft (AZW1) when his family and security team left the country on Monday evening. Former first lady Grace Mugabe, the sources said, took six security personnel after resisting efforts to reduce her security details to three. It is also understood the Police Protection Unit, which provides VIP protection, withdrew its team from Mugabe’s motorcade last Friday. Following last month’s military intervention, which brought a crashing end to Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, his family had been scattered across different countries before reuniting last week. It has also got together in Singapore. According to figures obtained from the 2018 National Budget, the Office of the President and Cabinet spent US$32,1 million on foreign trips, although the trips have yielded little in tangible results for Zimbabweans. The expenditure came at a time Treasury is struggling to pay civil servants as well as finance capital projects and social service delivery. In a massive decline from the previous years, Treasury allocated US$17 million to the Office of the President and Cabinet for foreign travel and US$700 000 for domestic travel in the 2018 budget. Treasury figures show that the public sector wage bill currently accounts for 90% of government income, starving other critical sectors of funding. Mugabe flew to Singapore, where his daughter Bona, son-in-law Simba Chikore and grandson Simbanashe have been stationed since the military take-over. Bona is expecting her second child.
Mugabe’s fun-loving sons Robert Junior and Bellarmine Chatunga were staying at their affluent Sandhurst mansion in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa, until they came back last week to face reality. “AZW1 departed at 2100hrs with 18 crew and 23 passengers on Monday night. Mugabe had to compromise by allowing a smaller contingency, as well as a smaller security team, so that Grace could be allowed to travel with a six-member security team for herself. He also reduced the security team accompanying him, although Grace refused to take three security people with her. In the past he would have taken over 80 people,” a source said. “For Mugabe, he ended up flying out with three security people, although three others had already left before him. The former presidential limousine, the bullet-proof S-Class 600 Pullman, now has ordinary yellow plates and his departure was low-key given the cut in security.” The Independent also has it on good authority that Mugabe’s successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa has granted his former boss some wing at Zimbabwe House to use as his office during his retirement.
“He will use that wing to host visitors who may want to visit him during his retirement. He also has a library space that he may choose to use. Mnangagwa wants Mugabe to be as comfortable as possible during his retirement,” a security source said. The Mugabe family has a multi-million-dollar empire built around numerous farms, prime real estate, various businesses and lucrative tenders which they wrested for self-aggrandisement. The family also benefitted heavily, directly and indirectly, from public funds during Mugabe’s endless globe-trotting trips and salted away some of the money. On some occasions, the family also used public funds to acquire private assets, but their empire is now facing collapse.-AMH

Plot to Kill President Mnangagwa Foiled After Bogus CIO Is Arrested With Loaded Firearm

HARARE  – Self-styled prophet Gathry Chiredzero was busted while advancing towards President Emmerson Mnangagwa with a loaded gun and fake Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) identification at a State function, a Harare court heard yesterday. Chiredzero was charged with possession of offensive weapons at public gathering, impersonating a public official and forgery when he appeared before Harare magistrate, Rumbidzayi Mugwagwa, yesterday. He was represented by John Ndomene and will be back in court today for his bail application. Prosecutor Tatenda Murindagomo alleged that on December 4, there was an inauguration ceremony at State House for cabinet ministers.
Chiredzero was spotted near State House by the podium controlling movement of people, masquerading as a security agent. The court heard that it was later established Chiredzero had produced a fake CIO identity card at the security check point to gain entry into the State House. On December 6, there was a ceremony for renaming King George V1 Barracks to Josiah Magamba Tongogara Barracks and the programme was officiated by Mnangagwa and he arrived driving a blue BMW X5 registration numbers ADI3317. The court heard that Chiredzero approached the Zimbabwe Defence Intelligence personnel manning the main gate where he identified himself and his accomplices as CIO Close Security Unit Officers who had been deployed to beef up Mnangagwa’s security. He reportedly produced a fake CIO identity card bearing his names and was given free passage into the premises before proceeding to the hall where celebrations were in progress. It was alleged that Chiredzero then positioned himself near the podium where Mnangagwa was addressing the gathering and was intercepted by an alert military officer who inquired into his presence. The court heard that Chiredzero said he was a member of the CIO and produced the fake identity card and it was immediately established that he was impersonating a security official. When his accomplices realised that he had been caught, they quickly vanished from the scene. Chiredzero was searched and found in possession of a 38 Special Amadeo Rossi S.A revolver serial loaded with three live rounds and two spent cartridges. He also had a fake Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission identity card inscribed Government of Zimbabwe executive director, Anti-Corruption, which he claimed to have obtained from the CIO and a fake metal driver’s licence.-DN

PICS: Robert Mugabe visits Singapore hospital on first trip since ouster

Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted from power last month, visited a Singapore hospital Friday during a trip to the city-state for a medical check-up. It was the first time he has been seen in public since he was forced to resign after a military takeover brought a sudden end to his authoritarian 37-year reign. The 93-year-old was seen leaving a lift in Gleneagles Hospital in downtown Singapore around midday local time wearing a white shirt and black trousers, and accompanied by eight people, AFP journalists said. RESPECT He walked quickly out of the building before he and his party were driven off in two cars. Two hospital employees, speaking anonymously as they were not authorised to talk to the media, confirmed to AFP that Mugabe had visited. A spokeswoman for Gleneagles declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality. His ex-spokesman, George Charamba, said Thursday that Mugabe was visiting Singapore for a medical check-up as “part of his package as a retired president to travel overseas”, adding the new government was keen to show him respect. The military stepped in on November 14 and ushered President Emmerson Mnangagwa into office after a power struggle with supporters of Mugabe’s wife Grace, 52, who had emerged as his chosen successor. Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, is accused of brutal repression and bringing the country to economic ruin. FRAIL HEALTH He has been in increasingly frail health and has reportedly battled prostate cancer. In recent years he has made several trips to Singapore, a popular medical tourism destination, for undisclosed medical reasons. Mnangagwa was formerly one of Mugabe’s closest allies, and the ruling Zanu-PF party remains in control. Mugabe will miss the party’s annual conference in Harare on Friday when Mnangagwa is expected to be confirmed as its candidate for elections next year.

Jonathan Moyo And Kasukuwere Could Still Be In Military Custody In Zimbabwe

Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere

Contrary to the belief that Jonathan Moyo and Saviour Kasukuwere skipped the country our investigations are pointing towards a different direction. They could still be  within Zimbabwe and in military custody. A number of media outlets have reported that Moyo and Kasukuwere escaped to Kenya. We have however reached out to Kenyan Immigration authorities who have indicated that they do not have any records of the two in their country.   Another lead had been that Moyo could have been in Swaziland where his wife is from. We reached out to the Swaziland authorities in Mbabane who claim that Jonathan was not a guest in their country. There has been a claim that Saviour Kasukuwere is en route to Equatorial Guinea  where he is expected to seek asylum. We tried to pursue this lead but without success. So Where Are They? We know that Jonathan Moyo is still using his twitter account. That has been the only proof of life. But things begin to get hazy from this point on. Prof Moyo’s twitter is still tied to his Zimbabwean number. The number is not reachable however we noticed that the email that was attached to his handle was changed. We have been trying to get in contact with him but to no avail. A source at Jonathan Moyo’s cellphone carrier indicated that the last known ping on cellphone towers was on the morning after the coup. The records indicate that the phone did not ping from around 2:48pm  then there was a 30 minute ping around 10AM on 15th November from a Mt Pleasant tower. The question is who turned the phone on if he had already left the country. From the chronology of events Prof Moyo attended a strategy meeting meeting disguised as a planning meeting for the proposed Robert Mugabe University in Mazowe on the 13th. At that meeting Grace Mugabe is believed to have assured them that all was in control.  Moyo did not attend cabinet on Tuesday of the 14th.  He is understood to have met up with Kasukuwere and Zhuwao at a restaurant in Helensvale. They parted around 5pm as Moyo headed home. At this moment it was already clear that a coup was underway. One source whom we reached out to was skeptical: “If indeed Moyo and Kasukuwere escaped wouldn’t it be baffling that they had a better plan and intelligence than a former Minister in charge of police Ignatius Chombo?” “A more plausible possibility is that both Moyo and Kasukuwere are in military custody. They knew they could build a case against Chombo but with Jonathan Moyo they really had nothing on him except the weak Zimdef  case.  Kasukuwere bought one of his properties from General Chiwenga, that alone could have become more complicated for the General. What if they kept both in custody and started sending the country onto a wild goose chase? ” Until Moyo and Kasukuwere are located, it may as well be plausible that they are in military custody or could have been eliminated the Itai Dzamara way.    

Superstitious President ED Mnangagwa Refused Chinese Beer , Explains Why

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa became a teetotaller during the liberation struggle in Mozambique after he witnessed fellow comrades die of excessive alcohol consumption. The President revealed this in July, 2015 when he was Vice President during his official visit to China while touring beer manufacturing giant Tsingtao Brewery Co. Ltd, in Qingdao Shandong province. After he was taken through the production lines of the brewing company, Mnangagwa was invited to sample some of the company’s beer brands. But after making a toast, he smiled and kept holding his beer mug, much to the amusement of the hosts and his delegation, who expected him to take a sip. Other members of his delegation, including the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Mike Bimha, quickly emptied their mugs.
Mnangagwa then explained: “Let me tell you something. I used to drink alcohol a lot during the liberation struggle but abstained after we lost some of our finest men not because of bullets or bombs from the enemy, but due to excessive consumption of alcohol. “We then sat down as commanders and said can we allow this to continue? Can we continue to lose our men to alcohol? Since that time I have never taken alcohol,’’ he said. Tsingtao Brewery Company Limited is China’s second largest brewery and it’s subsidiaries across that country are involved in the production, distribution, wholesale, and retail sale of beer products. The company also exports to over 80 countries.-ZP