Mugabe gets his yes-man


 “All the stands were sold to people who were not on the housing waiting list through directives from the Minister. This was against the standing council policies and regulations,” the 2010 report said.

Among the beneficiaries of the properties he acquired in Glen Lorne was Debra Marufu, the wife of Reward Marufu, first lady Grace Mugabe’s late brother.

He had even grander ways of showing gratitude.

When Government decided the country needed a new Parliament, a committee of MPs was put together to find a new location.

The Kopje area of the city was identified, on the belief it would held renew the decaying but historic corner of the city.

But Chombo saw an opportunity.

Bypassing the MPs, he declared that the new Parliament would in fact be in Mt Hampden, in President Mugabe’s home district of Zvimba.

Parts of Nyabira and Mazowe would be annexed for the project.

Joel Gabbuza, the MP of Binga who was part of that committee, said the whole plan had been “shrouded in secrecy”.

Demand for property around the proposed site of the new Parliament was sold off to well-connected developers and continues to grow in value.

More recently, when a court ordered police to stop the eviction of villagers at Arnold Farm, grabbed by First Lady Grace Mugabe, Chombo simply refused to comply.

He has angrily threatened anyone “denigrating” the First Family and likes to describe protesters as “malcontents”.

He is a holder of two PhDs, one in Adult Education from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, and another in Higher Education, from the Texas Women’s University.

Chombo has shown little sign of the economic prudence that will be needed in his new job.

In 2013, he ordered all councils to cancel ratepayers’ debts.

The move was meant to win urban voters over to the ZANU-PF party, but it wiped out at least $600 million in potential council revenues.

It has left urban councils limping to this day, struggling to deliver basic services.

A Transparency International report in 2016 said the police, Chombo’s last department, was the most corrupt institution, followed by local government, the department Chombo had headed prior to Home Affairs.

Continued next page


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The Insider

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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