The company had cordial relations with the then commander of the Zimbabwe army, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, who became Vice President after Robert Mugabe was ousted.
With Moti’s friends Mnangagwa and Chiwenga forming the presidium after the November 2017 coup, the billionaire became one of the natural choices to spearhead an economic revival.
He set up a base at Chinyika Ranch in the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency, whose MP was First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
Sources close to the Moti Group and Mnangagwa said the businessman’s about turn on Zimbabwe was partly political.
“Moti is closer to Vice President Chiwenga. There’s friction between No1 [Mnangagwa] and No2, but this has been played down.
“Moti is more aligned to Chiwenga, and as such to some extent he is seen as a potential funder of a faction in ZANU-PF,” said one source.
Asked about the allegations, Kaka said: “We respect both men in their respective offices. We are not politicians but investors. We want what’s good for our investment.”
Sources said the frosty relationship between the President and Moti had its roots in Mnangagwa’s escape from Zimbabwe after he was fired by Mugabe in November 2017, shortly before the coup.
“When Mnangagwa was planning his escape, he reached out to the Moti Group,” one source said.
“He wanted to be airlifted out of the country that’s documented in books and newspaper articles too. But the Moti Group allegedly did not avail their private jet, fearing Mugabe’s wrath.”
Mnangagwa was rescued by another South African businessman, Justice Maphosa, who later told journalists he was being targeted by shadowy businessmen for his role in Mnangagwa’s rescue.
Kaka said: “He [Mnangagwa] never asked us for help. I was in Zimbabwe when he was fired from government. He could have even used any flight out of the country if he needed to.”
Another thorny issue that affected their relationship was Moti’s arrest in Germany in August 2018.
He spent five months in jail after Russian billionaire Alibek Issaev told Interpol Moti had stolen a R500m pink diamond and defrauded him of R6.6m through a bogus mining deal.
With Moti behind bars, Kaka approached Mnangagwa for assistance but left emptyhanded. “I personally went to see President Mnangagwa to ask for help to get Zunaid released. Nothing came of it. We ended up using South African authorities. They were better placed to assist,” he said. –TimesLive