South African billionaire Robert Gumede has vehemently denied allegations that he funded Zimbabwean president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential election campaign or donated cars to his Zanu-PF.
The Sunday Times this morning reported that Gumede was said to be one of the main funders of the ruling party’s election machinery that delivered victory in Monday’s elections. The report said according to close sources, some of the donated millions were then used to buy about 100 bakkies and two trucks all fitted with public announcement systems.
Gumede labelled the allegations as fake news from information peddlers.
“The allegation that I funded the campaign for Zanu-PF and paid for hundreds of vehicles is outright denied and is utter nonsense” he said.
Gumede said he is an “international businessman” who through his companies, “invested in several African countries for many years and in Zimbabwe for over ten years.”
“There is nothing untoward nor suspicious about my engagements with President Mnangagwa given that I have committed to investing in the country. I love Zimbabwe for the role it played in bringing democracy to South Africa during the struggle led by the ANC”.
Gumede said he answered President Mnagangwa’s call for local and foreign investment as the country was “open for business anchored by economic reforms.”
“The victory by Zanu-PF and the publicly announced challenge by the MDC [Movement for Democratic Change] has clearly created much tension in Zimbabwe giving rise to all sorts of unfounded allegations and accusations. This is an opportune time to fuel lies and unsubstantiated speculation, innuendo and fake news.”
The businessman said it was offensive to be accused of “funding the campaign knowing that it is illegal for Zimbabwean political parties to be funded by foreigners.”
He added that there cannot be “any proof to support these baseless and very serious allegations as they are false and could only have been obtained from unreliable anonymous sources who lack credibility.”
“I have been doing business in Zimbabwe for more than 10 years and I have not donated any money towards any election campaigns.”
He said that “any funds leaving South Africa require Reserve Bank clearance and there would be a record of such transactions. Such records do not exist.”
Gumede said the allegations were an attack on his reputation, integrity, family and businesses.
“It is insensitive and purely meant to sow divisions in Zimbabwe. The article is trying to portray me as a ‘state capturer’ which is nonsensical.”
“I deny the allegations and I intend taking legal action to defend my reputation and to ultimately expose personal agendas and ulterior motives.