Mugabe son-in-law not part of Dema power project, says Sakunda boss

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By Anna Chibamu

A Sakunda Holdings executive has dismissed wide beliefs former President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore or the latter’s family was a partner in the controversial Dema Emergency Diesel Power Plant in Seke.

Giving oral evidence before parliament’s Energy and Power Development committee Friday, Sakunda Holdings chief operations officer Mberikwazvo Chitambo said the Chikores were not involved in whatever capacity in the project.

Simba Chikore was sucked into the Dema Power Plant partnership saga with Sakunda Holdings owner and Zanu PF benefactor Kuda Tagwirei after the former First Family allegedly facilitated his brother, Derrick’s involvement.

Responding to questions by MPs Friday, Chitambo told the legislators who were touring the idle power facility that Chikore has never been involved in the project as claimed by some sections of the media.

Chitambo told the legislators that he was going to be angry if anyone else had asked the question linking Simba Chikore, husband to Mugabe’s daughter Bona, with the stalled project.

According to Chitambo, Sakunda Holdings is a private company wholly owned by Zimbabweans.

“Sakunda Holdings is owned by Zimbabweans. It is actually owned by two persons Mr and Mrs Tagwirei,” he said.

Asked about one Chikore who was said to be the first spokesperson of the company, Chitambo left MPs in stitches; “Chikore Enos (late former cabinet minister), who?” Chitambo asked rhetorically, faking ignorance.

He went on, “Okay I hear you honourable. I thank you. As far as I can recall, the first spokesperson of this project, you are looking at him.

“I think there has been a simmering statement around the nation maybe on social media that there is son-of-law of a prominent Zimbabwean that he has been associated with this company. I dismiss that with the contempt it deserves in public now. Chikore has never been a shareholder of this company.”

Chitambo warned that he would have been angry if any ordinary person had asked the same question.

“I cannot be angry because I am sitting with MPs but, if it was a conversation with other people who are not honourable MPs, my answer would be stylish,” he said to laughter by the MPs.

The Chikores were allegedly awarded a controversial and corrupt ZESA tender in partnership with Sakunda Holdings and another company Aggreko to run the US$250 million Dema Power Project without going to tender in 2015.

The project has been stalled by Zimbabwe Transmission Distribution Company (ZTDC) to produce electricity as it has turned out to be too expensive compared to other electricity suppliers in the region.

MDC’s spokesperson Jacob Mafume described the project as “unnecessary, unmanageable and too expensive” while also associating the project with the former First Family.

Currently, the power plant has no production as ZTDC has not been buying its electricity.

It can produce up to 100 megawatts from initial 200MW which were reduced due to low demand and high fuel consumption.