Tobacco mogul, Robert Mugabe’s nephew denies getting tenders or favours

Adam Molai

ZIMBABWEAN businessman Adam Molai, who is married to former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s niece Sandra Mugabe, has dispelled rumours that his businesses grew because of his relationship to the former First Family.

Molai is a Zimbabwean industrialist and founder of TRT Investments which manages a diversified sector portfolio and operations in Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana, and whose latest interests have seen a foray into the US and European markets.

He has also been involved in Zimbabwe’s tobacco sector and says all his businesses are start-ups and he would still have been where he is if he was not Mugabe’s nephew-in-law.

Speaking to a Nigerian publication over the weekend, Molai narrated how he grew his businesses at a time virtually everyone with access to the Mugabe family used the relationship to make money through any means fair or foul.

“My entrepreneurship did not start in Zimbabwe. My entrepreneurship started even when I was on my educational journey in the United Kingdom, even when I was on my educational journey in Canada. By the time I came home to Zimbabwe, I was investing funds which I made from these entrepreneurial exploits during my days living in the Diaspora.

“So, I didn’t get any bank loans in Zimbabwe, there’s no bank that can say they gave me a loan when I got back to Zimbabwe. I came back with capital that I deployed into the businesses that I established when I got back to Zimbabwe,” he said.

Molai added: “And that was way before I got married. I only got married years after I was already in business, and, unless we were able to do some miracle business, within a year of my having gotten married, I had already been given the title of Zimbabwe’s National Business Person of the Year.

“This was for businesses that had been developed pre-my getting married. This was from businesses that had been developed pre my getting married. I’ve always said to people if there was an albatross that was actually a big hindrance to an ability to drive business to the level and scale you want to, it was that political expectation.

“If you look at all the businesses we’ve embarked on, we’ve never had one tender in any country in the world and we don’t do government business. We’ve never been tenderpreneurs – doing tenders I call tenderpreneurship; it’s like hunting in a zoo. Where’s the fun? The animal is caged, right? And you say I went hunting. The animals already caged. So, for me, the hunt is what we enjoy.”

Molai, who was with the late former strongman during his last days in Singapore, said if his businesses were founded on his relationship to Mugabe, they would have crumbled when the former Zimbabwean strongman passed on last year in September.

“If that had been the case the growth of our businesses post ‘his’ departure from the political scene could have meant our business would have crumbled. But instead they’ve grown.