Questions Arise Over Chivayo’s Wealth Amidst Lavish Spending

Wicknell Chivayo's mansion
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HARARE – Zimbabwean tycoon Wicknell Chivayo is under scrutiny as he continues to flaunt his wealth by purchasing an extravagant mansion and donating numerous cars and large sums of money.

His lavish lifestyle has prompted questions about the origins of his substantial financial resources.

Chivayo has reportedly been financing his extravagant spending through deals with state-owned power utility Zesa and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, though details of these arrangements remain opaque. The NewsHawks is investigating these contracts to uncover the full story.

Chivayo’s spending spree includes buying over 50 luxury cars, worth more than US$5 million, for various high-profile individuals. In January, he donated Toyota Aqua vehicles valued at US$400,000 to 50 members of his congregation. His personal collection includes several high-end models like the S500 Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and Range Rover.

In addition to his impressive car collection, Chivayo has built a Hollywood-style mansion in Harare’s Gletwyn suburb, Chishawasha Hills, furnished by South Africa’s Norman Bakos Signature Collection. Despite comparisons to former police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s estate, Chivayo insists that his mansion is distinct and built from scratch.

Chivayo’s ostentatious displays of wealth, coupled with his criminal background and involvement in controversial state tender projects, have fueled public curiosity and concern. Recently, he has donated cars and money extensively, including a US$1 million contribution to the Zion Christian Church during its Easter Passover festival, attended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The NewsHawks’ preliminary investigation suggests that Chivayo’s wealth primarily stems from state tenders rather than private business success. His company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, has secured significant government contracts, such as a US$5.8 million solar power project and a US$173 million contract for the Gwanda Solar Project. Despite receiving payment, Chivayo failed to deliver the Gwanda project, leading to fraud accusations and a subsequent court battle in which he was acquitted.

Critics argue that these contracts were awarded due to Chivayo’s close ties with President Mnangagwa rather than through a transparent, competitive process. Allegations of cronyism and corruption have sparked public outrage, with many calling for greater transparency and accountability in government procurement.

Chivayo’s actions exemplify “crony capitalism,” where political connections are leveraged to secure business deals and amass wealth. This practice undermines fair competition and erodes public trust in both government and business sectors. Ensuring that government contracts are awarded openly and fairly is crucial to promoting economic growth and maintaining public confidence.

The NewsHawks continues to investigate Chivayo’s financial dealings to provide a clearer picture of his wealth’s origins and the implications for Zimbabwe’s economic and political landscape.