Zimbabwe government minister arrested but some already asking so what?


Jorum Gumbo, the former Transport Minister, has been arrested for his actions around the Zimbabwe Airways controversy.

But it tells a story of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s feeble anti-corruption drive that none of the charges Gumbo faces shed any real light into the scandal of how the country ended up paying millions for planes that it never used.

Among the charges, it is said Gumbo influenced Zimbabwe Airways to use a property owned by his niece Mavis Gumbo – wrongly cited as his “sister” in the papers – as its headquarters.

Gumbo, it is said, then ordered that US$1 million set aside for the airline’s wages be used to renovate the offices.

Gumbo is still serving in government as Minister of State Responsible for Policy Implementation, having been shunted from the Ministry of Energy in May.

He also faces separate charges relating to CMED, the State’s transport logistics unit.

However, it is the charges he faces on Zimbabwe Airways that blow more hot air than a airplane jet blast.

Some background; first, back in June 2017, plane-spotters posted images of a Boeing 777 emblazoned ‘Zimbabwe Airways’. Initial speculation at the time was that the planes belonged to a rebranding Air Zimbabwe.

Wrong, Gumbo told the nation then. The plane, he said, belonged to private Zimbabweans.

“This has nothing to do with government; we have no good books to attract partnerships. All we are doing is to assist them,” Gumbo told the Zimbabwe Independent in November 2017.

There was more speculation; did this plane belong to the Mugabes? No, said Gumbo.

“This has nothing to do with President Mugabe or government. I told them (unnamed investors) we had initiated talks with several airlines so they just adopted my idea and we took them to Malaysia, which had shown interest.”

And why was Simba Chikore, Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law, appointed to head up the new airline? “He was just too good (in interviews) because the guy who came second was way below him in terms of points.”

As for how Mavis Gumbo ended up being Zim Airways’ landlady, Gumbo said the airline had only “stumbled on the house without her or my knowledge and they liked it”.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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