Alex T. Magaisa
In 2007/08 the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe ran a scheme which was ostensibly designed to support commercial agriculture. At the time, Zimbabwe was undergoing a major land revolution, with significant changes in land ownership under the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP)
The government was that the new farmers needed support from the State. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe launched the Farm Mechanisation Programme. The purpose was to enhance productivity on the farms through mechanisation.
The RBZ procured agricultural equipment worth US$200 million through FISCORP, its wholly-owned subsidiary. FISCORP described itself as “Financial Surgeons to the Nation”. The equipment ranged from combine harvesters to tractors, disc ploughs, planters, harrows and generators.
In financial terms, FISCORP was giving loans to the farmers. In return, the farmers were supposed to repay the loans. The beneficiaries were rated based on their credit-worthiness. The majority of them were rated “A”, the highest rate of credit-worthiness under the scheme. Many of the recipients, especially the ministers, senior civil servants were given an “A” which meant they were expected to repay without difficulty.
This scheme was a classic example of State intervention in an area which had previously been occupied by the private sector. In the past, a farmer would approach a commercial bank to borrow money to buy agricultural equipment. Alternatively, a supplier would offer the same equipment in terms of a credit agreement. There were also commercial organisations which specialised in leasing agricultural equipment, such as the Leasing Company of Zimbabwe. In all these cases, farmers would use their property as collateral for the loan or lease agreements. Farmers had ownership rights to the land which made it bankable.
The impact of the land revolution went beyond ownership patterns. It also impacted the financial architecture which supported commercial agriculture, more specifically the institution of private property. Banks which had invested heavily in commercial agriculture lost a lot of business and their balance sheets were heavily impacted. But it was the farmers’ inability to use the land as collateral for loans which had far-reaching effects. The government knew this was a problem now that land was owned by the State and sought to plug the hemorrhage through state intervention. The RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme was one such measure. Instead of commercial banks offering credit, the RBZ would do that, through its subsidiary, FISCORP.
However, it also represented the much-criticised quasi-fiscal activities of the central bank. Far from being discouraged by the criticism, the RBZ believed it was performing a heroic role for the nation during a very difficult time which was characterized by record levels of hyperinflation. It proceeded to hand out a variety of agricultural equipment and machinery to the new farmers, with expectations that the farmers would repay the debts.
At the time, there were criticisms of the elitist and nepotistic nature of the scheme. However, the identity of the beneficiaries was not known. The RBZ refused to disclose this information. So it remained a closely guarded secret. However, it soon emerged that beneficiaries had defaulted on their loans. They had taken delivery of the equipment and used it but they were not paying back the loans.
The RBZ was left without recourse. A commercial bank would have sued the farmers. It could have threatened to sell the land to recover its debts from the farmer. The RBZ’s hands were tied by the politics of the land revolution. After all, the land belonged to the State. This is reflected by a letter written by the RBZ to the government.
In 2011, the then Governor of the RBZ, Dr Gideon Gono wrote to the then Minister of Agriculture, Dr Joseph Made:
“Honourable Minister, I write to advise you that at its meeting on Tuesday, 25 October 2011, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Board passed a resolution mandating me to seek from you guidance on how to resolve the Farm Mechanization Debt.
As you are aware, Honourable Minister, the Bank is owed a lot of money by beneficiaries of the Farm Mechanization Programme. The Board needs your advice on the way forward given the political nature of the circumstances surrounding this debt.
Whilst the Bank is cognisant of the need to avoid taking precipitous action which could have undesired repercussions on the national interest, there is an urgent need to make sure that this matter is finally put to rest.”
Clearly, Governor Gono and the RBZ board were aware of the contractual nature of the loans and that they were supposed to be repaid by the beneficiaries. They were also aware that the debt was a burden on the central bank and that a lot of money was involved. However, reference to the “political nature” of the debt and fears that legal action could have “undesired repercussions on the national interest” betrays their insecurities. Surely, it was in the national interest that the beneficiaries of the scheme repay their loans? What is the “national interest’ in allowing beneficiaries of the scheme to avoid repaying their debts?
Years later, in 2015, the government passed the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Act. This legislation meant the State took over the debts of the RBZ. This included the Farm Mechanisation Debt. Some of the more enlightened members of society saw what was happening and protested that this was not fair. Why should the rest of poor Zimbabweans pay the debts incurred by a few elites who benefited under that scheme? At the very least, they wanted to know the identity of these beneficiaries.Prominent lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, wrote to the RBZ requesting the names of beneficiaries. However, both the RBZ and the government refused to disclose the names.
Five years after the RBZ Debt Assumption Act was passed, Zimbabwe is in a far worse state economically. The government introduced Command Agriculture, a controversial programme under which more machinery, equipment and inputs were given out to farmers by the State. The information on beneficiaries is also a closely guarded secret. The likelihood is that beneficiaries were not different from the beneficiaries of the Farm Mechanisation Scheme of 2007/08. This represents the moral hazard of opaque schemes: the same people benefit and they never pay back because they know they are protected. This is part of the systemic corruption which the BSR has addressed in recent weeks. Everyone in the higher echelons of power is part of the racket.
People are demanding change in the way that the government does business. They want more transparency. Even people within government are appalled by the egregious and systemic corruption. It is in this context that information has started to emerge concerning beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme. Most of the information pertaining to the beneficiaries of that scheme has begun to emerge. We have spent some time piecing the data together, analysing and verifying the data. We are confident that both the documents and the information they hold are authentic.
We believe this information is in the public interest, particularly as transparency, openness and accountability are core values of our national Constitution. They are necessary for good governance. Those who use public funds must account for it. Whenever the state places a burden on the people, it must account to them. Transparency and accountability form the bedrock of good governance.
Some of the beneficiaries may claim that they have since repaid the loans. This is not public information. It is up to them to provide proof that they have indeed made repayments. Public information is that the government took over the loans in 2015 and that the taxpayers are saddled with that private debt.
As already stated, letting people go without accounting creates a moral hazard: they will do it again because they never had to account the first time. In short, secrecy breeds bad and unaccountable behaviour. This bad behaviour includes enablers who support corruption and incompetence because they are rewarded by the state using taxpayer funds.
It is also immoral for elites to impose bills upon the poor to fund their lifestyles. These elites live in mansions. They send their children to elite private schools. They use private health care and often fly out of the country for routine medical checks. They flaunt their wealth before an impoverished population. But they impose their bills upon poor Zimbabweans. It’s forcing the poor and oppressed to fund their own poverty and oppression.
This list also serves another important purpose within Zimbabwe’s political system: it demonstrates the pervasive nature of patronage, which affects every layer and corner of the state. Some of the people may be sworn enemies today, but they share one thing in common: they have benefited immensely from ZANU PF’s control of the State. This is not just about the Zimbabwean State being predatory, no. This is about individuals who have used their proximity to State power for self-enrichment and they have been able to get away with it because institutions of the State have become compromised.
It is also about how this bad and counterproductive behaviour has become normalised. Both friends and enemies in ZANU PF at any given time find common ground in their ability to extract as much as they can from the State. If ZANU PF came after some of them, it is not really because it is interested in fighting corruption. It is merely weaponizing the law against political opponents, with a view to bring them to order. Thus you will find that very few of the hundreds of people on the list can utter an anti-corruption word. They do not have clean hands and their rivals know it. Zimbabwe needs a break from this cycle of corruption. Unfortunately, ZANU PF and the political system generally has become a breeding ground of corruption.
I have analysed this data with a view of presenting it in a way that is intelligible to the average reader. There are many ways to classify the recipients. These include their origins, which is the method used in the data. This shows that the Mashonaland provinces had the most beneficiaries, both in terms of numbers and value. Mashonaland East got US$47,5 million,Mashonaland West US$44,7 million and Mashonaland Central had US$34,2 million. By contrast, the two Matebeleland provinces had a combined total of US$13,9 million. Masvingo had US$26,4 million, Manicaland US$18 million and Midlands had US$14 million.
It may be argued that the Mashonaland provinces fall in the region with more intensive agriculture. However, this will not stop legitimate concerns of inequitable sharing of national resources, a perennial complaint by people in non-Mashonaland regions. .
Those interested in the gendered nature of allocation of state resources could classify the recipients according to gender. It was plain to me that there is a disproportionate number of men compared to women among the beneficiaries both in terms of numbers and value. Another classification would be in terms of ethnic identities of recipients. All that would be fascinating and revealing in regards to the way the nation is governed.
I decided to assess the beneficiaries in accordance with thematic areas as they impact on power dynamics in society. This was because I observed some familial connections, elitist linkages, and pockets of power. While the majority of beneficiaries were politicians, there significant patterns that form around the power wielded by individuals and groups. I have therefore come up with the following categories:
The politicians and by this I refer to current and former ministers; securocrats; judges; senior civil servants and politically connected persons (PEPs). I also observed obscure entities/organisations where the identity of the beneficial owners is vague and suspicious.
It is not surprising that the majority of beneficiaries were ZANU PF politicians. They have controlled the State since independence in 1980. ZANU PF politicians have created what scholars Acemoglu and Robinson called extractive institutions in their seminal book, Why Nations Fail. Extractive institutions are different from inclusive institutions which are stronger and cater for broader society. The Farm Mechanisation Scheme is a clear example of an extractive programme designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many.
Interestingly, former President Robert Mugabe’s name never features directly on the list of beneficiaries. There are, however, obscure beneficiaries such as one which is simply listed as “H.E.” which got equipment worth US$145,691.00. Another obscure entity is referred to as “Zimbabwe House” which got equipment worth US$1,14 million. Zimbabwe House is the property opposite the State House along Chancellor Avenue, the presidential residence.
There is a further opaque entity simply listed as Pamberi Investments, which got US$1,3 million worth of equipment. Who are the beneficial owners of this obscure Pamberi Investments? This information is not readily available and gives rise to speculation.
Finally, an entity listed as Kutama Day Secondary School got equipment worth US$2,239,109.00. That’s US$2,2 million for a rural school. A quick review of the goods shows that the machinery and equipment included between 90-100 tractors. Kutama Day Secondary School is a rural school located in Zvimba, former President Robert Mugabe’s home area. No other school in Zimbabwe benefited from the scheme to this extent. Who really benefited from the hundreds of tractors supposedly given to Kutama Day Secondary School should be the subject of deeper investigation.
Current President Emmerson Mngangwagwa’s debt is listed as US$411,728.00 for his farm, Pricabe Enterprises. The list suggests that this is still outstanding. The late former Vice President Joseph Msika got goods worth US$678,867.00 while another former Vice President, Joice Mujuru got a loan of US$131,200.00. There is a second tranche referred to as the “Mujuru Project” worth US$311,868.00. A third former Vice President, Phelekezela Mphoko got goods worth US$40,664.00. His low stake might be explained by the fact that he was not yet in the upper echelons of power in 2007/08. He only rose to real power in 2014, when he was appointed as co-Vice President.
Other big beneficiaries in this category include Obert Moses Mpofu, a former Minister, who got equipment worth US$383,796.00. Another former Minister, Walter Chidhakwa is listed as having a debt of US$400,267.00 while the current acting spokesperson for ZANU PF, and a former Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa (Tsukumai Farm) is listed as owing US$350,463.00.
Sydney Sekeramayi, a former Minister once touted as Mugabe’s potential successor, accumulated a debt of US$331,222.00 while another former minister, Munacho Mutezo (Ferncarry Farm) owes US$335,181.00. Once one of the most powerful ministers who controlled land allocations during the land revolution, Didymus Mutasa’s days of influence are long gone. But according to the list, he was allocated goods worth US$203,797.00, which he never repaid. The current Minister of Defence and ZANU PF Chairperson who regularly blames sanctions for Zimbabwe’s woes, Oppah Muchinguri (Middlepos Farm) has a debt of US$383,131.00 under the scheme.
There are former ministers who are out of favour with the current regime but they had influence during the time of the scheme. They also got goods which were not paid for. Rugare Gumbo got goods worth US$316,767.00; Flora Bhuka had US$331,972.00 while Francis Nhema owes a debt of US$129,035.00. Christopher Mushowe (Beverly Hills Estate) got two tranches at US$289,565.00 and US$48,574.00 for a total of US$338,139.00. Nyasha Chikwinya got US$151,143.00 while former Mashonaland East Governor Ray Kaukonde has a debt of US$231,139.00.
Former Governor and Provincial Affairs Minister for Mashonaland Central and a vociferous supporter of the Mugabe regime, Martin Dinha got a loan of US$378,122.00 while former State Security Minister, Nicholas Goche was in the same league with US$305,608.00. Another big hitter was former Agriculture Minister, Olivia Muchena who got a loan of US$376,470.00. A Minister and ZANU PF political commissar, Elliot Manyika who died in a car accident in 2008 got equipment worth US$312,500.00. Mike Madiro (Wilton Farm) who is a deputy minister was a big beneficiary with a US$319,727.00 loan. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi got US$312,979.00.
Former Deputy Minister Bright Matonga took goods worth US$359,420.00 while Edna Madzongwe who was a President of the Senate between 2005 and 2018 got a loan of US$325,368.00. Webster Shamhu who fell out of favour with Mugabe before a brief recovery was cut short by the coup in November 2017 was also one of the big beneficiaries in the 2007.08 scheme when he got a loan of US$302,715.00, which he never paid back
There were numerous beneficiaries with loans under US$100,000 but perhaps the most prominent is Christopher Mutsvangwa of Pegreach Moncris Farm at US$80,699.00. Mutsvangwa has been in the news blaming everyone except ZANU PF for the country’s economic challenges. But like his peers he took from the State and did not pay his debt. Now it’s ordinary taxpayers who must foot the bill. Another loud voice in ZANU PF is Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana who got a loan of US$58,956.00 but did not pay it back. Victor Matemadanda who has gained notoriety for making insane comments on behalf of the current regime settled for US$25,534.00, a paltry figure by his gang members’ standards. But still, he failed to repay.
Other Ministerial Beneficiaries
Chen Chimutengwende – US$98,780.00
Lazarus Dokora – US$82,719.00
Sithembiso Nyoni – US$7,097.00
Sylvester Nguni – US$53,600.00
Joel Biggie Matiza – US$46,949.00
Apollonia Munzverengi – US$59,662.00
Ambrose Mutinhiri – US$68,321.00
Michael Bimha – US$73,877.00
David Chapfika – US$79,936.00
Kagonye Petronella – US$94,761.00;
David Parirenyatwa (Tambawakaguta Farm) – US$88,631
Mandi Chimene (Tasendekerapano Farm) – US$37,520.00
Samuel Undenge – US$70,935.00
Jaison Machaya – US$49,700.00
Josiah Hungwe – US$99,511.00
Joram Gumbo – US$39,869.00
July Moyo – US$42,450.00
Owen Mudha Ncube – US$38,000.00
Frederick Shava – US$62,217.00
David Marapira – US$54,293.00
Makhosini Hlongwane – US$108,767.00
Kindness Paradza – US$118,485.00
Peter Haritatos – US$38,000
Political Referees: Judges
It has always been said that political referees in Zimbabwe are compromised. These referees include persons who are in positions to act as arbiters in political disputes or enforcers of law and order. There have also been charges of judicial capture and the capture of electoral institutions. In essence, it has been argued that there is interference with the independence of these political referees.
One of the easiest ways to impact the independence of political referees is how they are remunerated. This is why the gold standard of remunerating judges is that their pay must come from the State’s Consolidated Revenue Fund, i.e. the central public purse, and not from private or quasi-public sources. No one should play godfather to judges, because of the risk that they will become beholden to that godfather figure.
This is why having judges as beneficiaries of the Farm Mechanisation Scheme is problematic. It made the beneficiary judges part of the racket. It made them beholden to their benefactor. It also placed them in a position of conflict of interest: if someone wanted the list of beneficiaries disclosed, the judges had a clear interest in it since they are named on the list. However, litigants would not have known this. This is unfair both on the judges and the litigants – on the judges because they were placed in an invidious position and on litigants because they would be fighting a losing battle.
One important observation is that although they were beneficiaries, judges fared much worse than their political counterparts. They got loans of less than US$100,000 each, paltry amounts compared to what the Ministers and other politicians got. The only big hitter was the late Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku who got machinery and equipment worth US$381,946.00. He was the foremost judicial voice in support of the land reform programme. He died in 2017, his loan still outstanding.
The next biggest beneficiary in the judiciary was former Chief Magistrate, Mishrod Guvamombe who got a loan of US$107,848.00. He was ahead of long-serving Supreme Court judge, Justice Paddington Garwe who was given a loan of US$92,986.00. Justice Alfas Muvavarigwa Chitakunye got US$92,685.00. Justice Tadios Karwi got a loan of US$95,732.00 with Justice Tendai Phanuel Uchena at US$89,382.00. Justice Lavender Makoni got US$87,984.00 while current Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza got US$62,534.00. Justice Cheda – US$69,729.00. Another current Supreme Court judge, Justice Antonia Guvava is listed as owing US$68,380.00.
Other judges listed as owing on the scheme include Justice Ben Hlatshwayo – US$49,801.00; Justice Charles Hungwe – US$46,640.00; Justice Tawanda Chitapi – US$44,817.00; Justice Susan Mavangira US$33,695.00; Justice Vernanda Ziyambi – US$33.695.00; Custom Kachambwa, a former senior magistrate at US$42,947. There is an Ennie Marie Gowora (Nyamera Farm) on the list owing US$48,600, who may or may not be the Supreme Court judge with a very similar name although it is spelt as Anne-Marie Gowora. A senior magistrate, Morgan Nemadire is listed as having been given a generator worth US$1,299.00 at Nemadzime Village.
It is embarrassing that judges of the highest courts in the country are listed as beneficiaries of this scheme who did not pay back the loans. If a dispute were to arise over this specific scheme, they would be seriously conflicted. But the effect is not confined to cases under the scheme. The fact that they owe these loans is a dagger that hangs above their heads all the time. They will always be reminded of their debt by the powerful politicians. Faced with a dispute that pits these authorities and another party, it is hard to see how judicial authorities in this situation can be independent and impartial. The Farm mechanisation debt is therefore a weapon against judicial independence.
Political referees: Prosecutors and legal advisers
Once upon a time, Johannes Tomana had a lot of power. He was the Attorney General of Zimbabwe. In that role he was both the legal adviser to the government and the chief prosecutor. He perfected the art of selective application of the law, using his prosecutorial powers largely in favour of ZANU PF and against the MDC. He became one of the most notorious figures of the Mugabe regime who showed no regard for the rule of law. Tomana was one of the beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme, getting goods worth US$63,583.00 which he never paid back. He was seen recently training to be a diplomat. Another senior member of the Attorney General’s Office, Florence Ziyambi also got a loan of US$63,982.00 which she did not pay back.
The current Attorney General, Advocate Prince Machaya listed at Blackeney Farm also got a loan of US$46,752.00. Like others, he did not pay it back. As adviser to the government he would obviously be conflicted. It’s hard to imagine him or Tomana advising the government to disclose the list of beneficiaries when they are on it. It’s not surprising that the government has kept the list secret, even though public funds are being used to repay the debt. The public interest has been subordinated to the private interests of the gatekeepers.
Political Referees: Commissions
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is yet another political referee of great significance. Its officers must not only be independent, but they must not be placed in situations which affect their autonomy. Like judges, their remuneration and benefits must be drawn from a clear source. They should not be beneficiaries of freebies which make them beholden to their benefactors.
The head of the predecessor to ZEC in 2007/08 was the securocrat Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba. He got a loan of US$169,972.00 while the Chief Elections Officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi was given a loan of US$46,858.00. Tobaiwa Mudede, a long-serving Registrar who was notoriously in charge of the Voters Roll, was given two loans worth a total of US$250,896.
ZEC itself was given hundreds of motorbikes worth US$197,244.00 notwithstanding the fact that this was touted as a Farm Mechanisation Scheme.
Gabriel Chaibva, who became a vocal ZANU PF apologist after an early stint in the MDC and is now a commissioner of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), got a loan of US$88,623.00 under the Farm Mechanisation Scheme. He never paid it back. How an individual who takes no responsibility for his loans and instead imposes his bill upon poor taxpayers can be their gatekeeper against corruption is impossible to fathom. How does a beneficiary of systemic corruption defeat corruption?
Mabel Chinomona is the current President of the Senate, the upper chamber of Parliament. Along with Jacob Mudenda, the Speaker of the National Assembly, she made the momentous but eminently dubious decision to accept the letter from Senator Douglas Mwonzora expelling MDC Alliance Senators from Parliament. She is also among the beneficiaries of the Farm Mechanisation Scheme. She got a loan of US$119,805.00 which she never paid back.
Politically Exposed Persons
Apart from politicians and political referees, there are also many politically exposed persons (PEPs) who were beneficiaries of the Farm Mechanisation.
Perhaps the most outstanding name is that of Bingu wa Mutharika, the late former President of Malawi. He is listed as having been given a loan of US$124,111.00 in 2007 under the Farm Mechanisation Scheme. Apparently, Wa Mutharika was married to a Zimbabwean and had a farm in Zimbabwe. It’s one thing that a foreign leader got a loan from a national scheme, but an entirely different and more scandalous matter that he failed to repay his debt which was then offloaded onto the shoulders of poor Zimbabwean taxpayers.
Another prominent PEP is Maphid Albert Mnangagwa related to President Mnangagwa who got a loan of US$93,111.00 which was not repaid. Gerald Mlotshwa, a lawyer and son-in-law of President Mnangagwa is also listed as owing US$59,605.00 under the scheme.
Joseph Chinotimba, a ZANU PF MP received machinery and equipment worth US$163,401.00 including 2 Massey Ferguson tractors. Pupurai Togarepi who is the ZANU PF Chief Whip in Parliament of New Brookline Farm No. 1, near Ngezi River is listed as owing US$72,547.00 under the scheme. Togarepi, who served as head of the ZANU PF Youth League until a couple of years ago, is a vocal defender of the regime blaming everyone for Zimbabwe’s ills. He never acknowledges that he has a debt of US$72,547.00 which he foisted on the public because he refused to pay it.
Obediah Moyo who was recently fired as Minister of Health after facing charges of corruption also got a loan under the Farm Mechanisation Scheme. The total amount of US$130,963.00 was never paid back. Among the PEP is Tariro J. Mupfumira who is listed twice – US$112,581.00 (Mash West) and US$59,499 (Masvingo) for a total of US$172,080.00. This double-dipping in different provinces is a fairly common feature on the list. Tariro, who is the son of former Minister Prisca Mupfumira, did not repay his loan.
Temba Mliswa is a vocal MP whose political rhetoric often leaves the audience confused because on the one hand he can be critical of the regime but on the other hand he comes across with apologist sentiments concerning the Mnangagwa regime. Despite his attempts to appear independent, he struggles to get past his relationship with the Mnangagwas. He is listed as a major beneficiary of the Farm Mechanisation Scheme. He received a loan of US$462,999.00. Needless to say, he did not pay it back. There is also a Nomsa Mliswa who is listed as having received US$58,017.00. It is not clear whether the two are related.
Another controversial name on the list is that of Wicknell Chivhayo who has featured in the scandal concerning the ZESA solar power project in Gwanda. He is also on the list where he is stated as owing US$48,315.00. Chivhayo is fond of flaunting his “wealth” on social media. But he did not repay his debt to the RBZ, which is now on the shoulders of taxpayers. Interestingly, the new Executive Chairman of his solar power company, lawyer Wilson Manase is also on the list for a debt of US$297,015.00. Current Energy Minister, Fortune Chasi recently spoke highly of Manase and his credentials when justifying the government’s confidence in the work of Chivhayo’s company. But both men have a record of imposing their debts on the public. It is worth mentioning that another ZESA appointee, Dr Sydney Zikuzo Gata, Executive Chairman of the parastatal who owes US$50,600.00 under the scheme.
As the old saying goes, whatever you find, share with your relatives because strangers are easily forgetful. The ZANU PF political elites appear to have taken this to heart. The Nyabadza family took it to great lengths. The most well-known PEP is Basil Nyabadza of Rockingstone Farm who is listed as having received a loan of US$72,574.00. Simba Nyabadza received two tranches amounting to US$99,718.00 while Simon Nyabadza got US$76,139. Takudzwa Nyabadza got US$20,900 with Michael Nyabadza got US$125,633.00. There is also a Father Nyabadza listed as a priest with US$72,574.00. None of the Nyabadzas paid back their loans.
The Mugabes also feature, although rather surprisingly, the amounts are fairly modest by comparison. Leo Mugabe, one of the most well-known of the former President’s family, received the largest amount at US$100,885.00. His mother and the president’s sister, Sabina Mugabe got US$66,680 while her younger sister, Bridget Mugabe received US$42,720.00. The former head of ZINARA and Mugabe’s nephew, Albert Mugabe received US$64,792.00. There is also on the list a More Mugabe US$50,120; a Kaitano Mutandwa Mugabe with US$63,251 and a Constancia Mugabe with US$44,879.00.
The Mugabe clan also uses the name Matibiri and there are quite a few of them. Perhaps the biggest is Innocent Matibiri, who was a senior police officer (and therefore a member of the securocrats covered elsewhere). He received two loans totalling US$403,825. The other Matibiris include Maseline Matibiri US$15,976; Silence Matibiri US$117,176.00; Plaxedes Matibiri US$27,514.00; Malvern Matibiri US$44,879.00 and John Masese Matibiri US$31,167.00.
Another familial connection on the list is that of Albert Nyakuedzwa of Folkington Farm who was awarded a loan of US$286,853.00 while Nobert Nyakuedzwa got US$59,300.00.
The Mombeshoras are another family that had much to be grateful for from the Farm Mechanisation programme. The biggest beneficiary was Dr Douglas Mombeshora, a former Minister who got a loan of US$312,528.00. His wife, Millicent Mombeshora, was a senior official at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Also listed as a beneficiary is a “Sekuru Mombeshora” who got a loan of US$98,539.00; Lucy Mombeshora who got US$78,145.00; Gideon Mombeshora with US$91,953.00 and Augustine Mombeshora who received US$60,118.00. None of the Mombeshora family members repaid their loans.
There is also the Tsvakwi connection. Christine Sophia Tsvakwi who features among representatives of the government in the land arbitration cases received a loan of US$405,967.00 while Ray Tanyaradzwa Tsvakwi is listed as owing US$177,799.00. Rephias Tsvakwi is listed as having received US$34,318.00. None of the Tsvakwis repaid their loans. Another young entrepreneur, Dakarayi Mapuranga is also on the list as having received goods worth US$52,943.00, but the loan was not repaid.
Sometimes people wonder why certain figures are perennial apologists for the regime, even when it should be embarrassing to defend the regime. Oft-times people suspect that they would have been paid but it’s not easy to find the proof. We already saw how Gabriel Chaibva, a favourite of the state media’s “analysts” for many years got a loan that he didn’t repay. Others who benefited from the Farm Mechanisation scheme are Sheunesu Mupepereki who got a loan of US$82,466.00 and Vimbai Gukwe Chivaura who was given US$108,326.00. Another serial commentator who is pro-ZANU PF, Claudios Mararike got US$86,708.00.
None of these gentlemen repaid their loans.
Two media personalities, veteran reporter Reuben Barwe got US$79,607.00 while the late reporter Judith Makwanya received US$35,984.00. Current Zimpapers CEO, Pikirai Deketeke is listed as owing US$44,860 under the scheme. However, the biggest beneficiary among media personalities is one George Chisoko who is listed as owing US$340,616.00. Chisoko was last mentioned as an assistant editor at The Herald.
Senior Civil Servants
Some of the biggest beneficiaries, apart from the politicians are the senior civil servants and heads of state-owned entities. For a long time Munyaradzi Kajese was the head of protocol under the Mugabe regime. He served under the Mnangagwa regime after the coup in November 2017. His loan under the scheme amounted to US$468,150.00. Mariyawanda Nzuwa who was the long-time chief of the Public Service Commission was given two loans amounting to US$317,775.00. The Chief Secretary to the President and the Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda received two loans totalling US$351,148. Another senior staffer in the president’s office, Innocent Tizora who managed state residences under the Mugabe regime got US$149,481.00.
Another major beneficiary was Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, brother to the late Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. He is listed twice with loans of US$209,791.00 in 2008 and US$66,225.00 in 2007 for a total of US$276,016.00. Willard Chiwewe, who is a former senior civil servant and governor of Masvingo received $429,512.00 while former head of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Karikoga Kaseke got US$58,299.00. Another reformer governor, Tinaye Chigudu is listed as having been awarded 3 separate loans amounting to US$435,647.00. None of these gentlemen has ever repaid their loans.
George Charamba is a long-serving senior civil servant who served as spokesperson for former President Mugabe and is now Deputy Chief Secretary and spokesperson for President Mnangagwa. He has previously been implicated in the scandal at the PSMAS, a health insurance scheme for civil servants. He is listed as having received machinery and equipment worth US$127,723.00 under the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme. Like others, he did not pay back this loan, which was foisted on the taxpayer.Like other vocal defenders of the regime, Charamba likes to apportion blame for Zimbabwe’s ills to other quarters, never acknowledging responsibility even in the face of habitual pilfering of public funds.
Other senior civil servants who are listed as beneficiaries owing the taxpayer are: Justin Mupamhanga – US$135,230; Martin Rushwaya – US$84,543.00; Virginia Mabhiza – US$37,683.00; Judith Kateera (PS) – US$43,487.00; Eric Harid – US$74,264 and James Manzou – US$63,967.00 . They are all permanent secretaries in the present government. The head of NatPharm, the state pharmaceutical company who was recently featured in the Draxgate controversy, Nancy Flora Sifeku, owes US$38,895.00 while former taxman, Gershem Pasi, owes two loans valued at US$70,099.00. Former Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma got US$75,807.00 while ex-head of the ZBC, Happison Muchechetere is listed at US$82,476.00.
It is often the case that people wonder why certain members of the clergy seem to take sides with an incompetent and corrupt regime. Do they have something on them, people often ask. The scriptures teach that believers shall not steal and that they shall honour their obligations. After all, do the scriptures not say render unto Cesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God? Why then, when debts fall due, men and women of the cloth do not seem to render to Caesar things are Caesar’s?
The list of beneficiaries includes the following members of the clergy: Ezekiel Guti who is listed as owing US$116,693.00; Nolbert Kunonga who was very popular with the Mugabe regime at the time of the Farm Mechanisation Scheme was awarded a loan of US$98,661.00. There is also an Agatha Kunonga who is listed as having received US$58,318.00. Rutendo Wutawunashe is listed as owing US$18,200.00. Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi was the biggest beneficiary among members of the clergy, with two loans of US$271,000.00 and US$315,600.00 for a grand total of US$586,600.00. None of these men and women of the cloth repaid their loans. It is probably not surprising that they are among the foremost endorsers of the regime.
So after going through this, some might be asking, but what about the self-proclaimed stockholders of the country, the securocrats? The BSR does not end here. There is so much to consume in this BSR and so much more that remains to be consumed. Take a moment to digest this and you can look forward to more that remains to be served.
It is in the government’s interests to be transparent and accountable to the people who are carrying this load, effectively paying for the lifestyles of political elites. These are the drivers of systemic corruption. It is important to deal with this systemic corruption. We do not know who received what under Command Agriculture, but it will not be surprising if the people are the at the front of the queue. And in all this, it is the poor taxpayers who carry the cost. It is unfair. It is immoral. It cannot be right that those with the most capacity to pay impose the burden of their purchases upon the poor citizens. Those who benefited from this hideous scheme must pay back the money.