Mutumwa Mawere, an ex-business magnate, has a rosy educational story with stints in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, the UK and the U.S. (George Washington University) where he obtained a Master of Science (Management) and an MBA (Finance & Investments). He became Mugabe’s fiercest critic after his lucrative asbestos mine and branch companies, including a bank accounts were seized by the Zimbabwean government.
by Sam Wezhira
Mutumwa worked for Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, the Merchant Bank of Central Africa, and the World Bank, where he rose to fame becoming a Senior Investment Officer with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – professionals program for young people deemed to have the potential to become world leaders. For reasons best known to him, he chose to become a South African citizen in 1995.
In 1996, he went back to Zimbabwe to venture into asbestos mining through his new company Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM). Even though he denies it, Mutumwa received improper support by politicians from ZANU-PF in forms of government guarantees to the tune of US$60 million loan used in the purchase of SMM. I have the copy of the guarantee. Mutumwa instead claims denied these purchase payments were guaranteed for by a deposit of shares of the mining company instead.
After eight years of operations, SMM came under heavy government scrutiny and was blamed for prejudicing the state of more than Z$300 billion. This might be partly the reason why Mutumwa has been holed up in South Africa for this long. The government of Zimbabwe tried to no avail to get him extradited from South Africa. They subsequently seized SMM and bankrupted it. Mutumwa is very bitter about the loss and understandably so but the guy has ego issues.
He claims the government of Zimbabwe seized SMM as part of its efforts – to print money to pay off overdue debts to the International Monetary Fund but the question is why SMM? Why did the government not seize CABS?
Were there terms in the government guarantee that Mutumwa violated? How much does he owe the government of Zimbabwe? How hypocritical for him to try and sue the Zimbabwe government in the British courts for violation of property rights when he can’t explain how he got SMM. What a chancer? going to Britain for reprieve hoping the Brits will sympathize with him because of the government of Zimbabwe’s treatment of the white commercial farmers. What did he say when the property rights of those commercial farmers were being violated?
And to think these are the people who shape the worldview of the international community about Zimbabwe is scary. No wonder why Zimbabwe is cursed with sanctions; people wonder why America has no mercy on the suffering Zimbabwe population. How can the US have mercy on us when we have selfish people like Mutumwa who wrote to the IMF’s managing director, Rodrigo de Rato saying, “There is no doubt that my companies have been seized by the state, and the beneficiary of the export proceeds is now the state? This can hardly be described as a voluntary submission.”
“If this can happen to me, an African investor, what about other companies?” he asked in an interview in Washington on Wednesday after he met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Can you sleep knowing your government is up to mischief?”
“People thought this was only a white problem. Now it is happening to black people,” he said. “The government can take your rights any day. The other side of all this is that blacks are being victimized by blacks, and property rights are being compromised with impunity. If I don’t express this, what future do we have as Africans in Africa? We cannot all drive taxis in America. There is a black face to the victims of Mugabe,” he said (The Washington Post, Feb 23, 2006)
Such utterances are the reasons Zimbabwe is cursed with sanctions. Masiyiwa is correct, targeted sanctions are not affecting the targeted people but the generality of the Zimbabwean citizens. He recently wrote,
“These so called “targeted sanctions” have been like a mad man with a hammer trying to kill a fly! Every blow: companies and factories; Closed hospitals to ordinary people, whilst the targets when they are sick go to Singapore and Dubai; pandemics killing the poor and vulnerable; Children not able to access medicines. our people forced to flee to neighboring countries to scrap for food even on the streets as beggars. You reduced us to aid, which you are now cutting.”
I have never met Mutumwa or Masiyiwa but one thing is certain, from both guys’ writings, I can assure you Mutumwa holds extremist views. He will do anything for silver.
He once wrote in the herald that, “it cannot be said that Charamba behaves like a civil servant rather he behaves like an intellectual terrorist armed with the venom that can only be expected from a political commissar…”
And now he is pulling all strings paying some nonentities like Rutendo to go and attack Masiyiwa using video streaming. Honestly how low can someone go? I am sure even the IFC young professionals program is ashamed to call Mutumwa their Alumni.