By Staff Reporter
INCARCERATED local businessman Delish Nguwaya holds a diplomatic passport and former tourism minister, Walter Mzembi has demanded that President Emmerson Mnangagwa explains how a man with a chequered history could acquire the precious document.
Nguwaya is currently in remand prison after he was denied bail when he was arrested over a week ago on charges of fraudulently acquiring a US$42 million tender to supply Covid-19 testing kits and equipment to the government.
He is also accused of lying that Drax International, a company in which he is the local country representative, was a pharmaceutical company when the firm was only involved in consultancy work.
The government has been strenuously trying to dismiss claims that Nguwaya has close links to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family, in particular his son, Collins.
This has led Mzembi to demand how Nguwaya managed to acquire a diplomatic passport when during his (Mzembi) tenure as tourism minister, he struggled but failed to facilitate one for world-acclaimed Zimbabwean musician, the late Oliver Mtukudzi. The musician, popularly, known as Tuku, died last year and was declared a national hero.
“Mr. President! Please explain why this thief holds a diplomatic passport?” Mzembi asked.
“Despite repeated pleas and submissions for Oliver Mtukudzi to the then Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mmbengegwi to consider a diplomatic passport for this cultural icon (Mtukudzi), my ministry and ZTA (Zimbabwe Tourism Authority), were given a flat NO. Uyu (Nguwaya) akazokosha kupfura Tuku nhai? (So, Nguwaya is more important than Tuku!”
Mzembi is now in self-imposed exile after a nasty fall-out with the Mnangagwa administration following the November 2017 military-backed coup to remove the now late President Mugabe from office.
Diplomatic passports are the preserve of government ministers, senior government officials, and selected MPs.