Zimbabwe’s new president Emmerson Mnangagwa is the richest man in Zimbabwe according to former Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
All along Econet boss Strive Masiyiwa has been touted as the country’s richest man and this is based on records that are publicly available.
Forbes magazine estimates Masiyiwa's personal wealth at US$600 million while Ventures Africa puts it at US$1.4 billion.
Mnangagwa, according to the London weekly newspaper, The Sunday Times, is not only the most feared man in Zimbabwe but he is also reputed to be the richest.
“He is the wealthiest man in the country,” it quotes Biti as saying.
According to the paper, Mnangagwa’s business interests include a chain of petrol stations, ethanol production and gold panning.
It also quotes a United Nations 2002 report which accused Mnangagwa of plundering diamonds from the Democratic Republic of Congo when Zimbabwean troops intervened to prop up the government of President Laurent Kabila in the late 1990s.
The report says Mnangagwa was “key strategist for the Zimbabwean branch of the elite network” looting precious minerals.
In his inauguration speech Mnangagwa called on Zimbabweans to let bygones be bygones.
“I recognise that the urgent tasks that beckon will not be accomplished through speeches, necessary as these may be. I have to hit the ground running to make sure that I lead in stupendous efforts we all need to summon and unleash in concert, towards taking this great nation beyond where our immediate past President left it,” he said.
“For close to two decades now, this country went through many developments. While we cannot change the past, there is a lot we can do in the present and future to give our nation a different, positive direction.
“As we do so, we should never remain hostages to our past. I thus humbly appeal to all of us that we let bygones be bygones, readily embracing each other in defining a new destiny. The task at hand is that of rebuilding our great country. It principally lies with none but ourselves.
“I implore you all to declare that NEVER AGAIN should the circumstances that have put Zimbabwe in an unfavourable position be allowed to recur or overshadow its prospects. We must work together, you, me, all of us who make up this nation.
“Ours is a great country, endowed with rich resources and abounding in many opportunities for everyone who considers it home. Whilst I am aware that emotions and expectations might be high and mixed, I have no doubt that over time, we will appreciate the solid foundation laid by my predecessor, against all manner of vicissitudes, towards building an educated, enlightened, skilled and forgiving society.
“This is a formidable head-start we draw from our past, a plinth upon which to build developments in the present and to erect hopes for the future. Fellow Zimbabweans, as we chart our way forward, we must accept that our challenges as a nation emanate in part from the manner in which we have managed our politics, both nationally and internationally, leading to circumstances in which our country has undeservedly been perceived or classified as a pariah State.”