Ex-minister accused of grabbing airline

Supa Mandiwanzira

A local businessman has accused former Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira of arm-twisting him to seize control of the now-defunct Rainbow Airlines.


Frank Humbe, who is suing Mandiwanzira for $350 000 over the failed business partnership deal, told the High Court last week that the Zanu PF MP had destroyed his dreams.

Humbe said he founded Rainbow Airline in 2013 and acquired an air service permit which was followed by an air operator’s certificate from the Transport and Infrastructure Development ministry and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.

“To start operations, I approached financial institutions and some individuals for funding, but unfortunately it was very difficult because the economy was not doing well,” he said.

“Sometime in May 2016 I had a meeting with Mandiwanzira at his radio station’s ZiFM offices in Newlands after being introduced to him by a friend.”

Humbe said the former minister expressed interest in the project after he told him about his dream.

“We needed $600 000 to kick-start the project since most of the work had been done and he agreed to provide the money,” he said.

“I offered him 40% shareholding, but he argued that as a cabinet minister he wouldn’t like to be seen as a junior partner in the project and he proposed to have 50% shareholding and he was with one Gilbert Muponda, who was introduced as a business partner and would stand in for the minister during negotiations.”

Humbe said he acceded to Mandiwanzira’s demands because he was desperate for the project to take off.

“Mandiwanzira’s team fronted by Muponda started to be too aggressive against me, piling a lot of unreasonable accusations and he demanded more shares and threatened that they were not going to put more money if I refused to give him another 20% shares,” he alleged.

“I had no funds at that time, no investor and I was left with no option, but to accept. Muponda then prepared an addendum for the new agreement and they would pay me $150 000 cash for the extra 20%.”

Humbe said after signing the new agreement, Mandiwanzira took all the documents to his office, and after four weeks he was surprised when he was allegedly given “forged documents of the agreement with different terms”.

“When I raised my displeasure over the forged contract, Mandiwanzira, who was with his brothers Richard and Robson, and Muponda, came to me fuming, saying he would use his political muscle to grab the project,” he claimed.

“Mandiwanzira told me he would take me to the cleaners and was not going to change anything. He said even if I went to court I would never win the case.”

Humbe said when he eventually cancelled the agreement through his lawyers, he started receiving death threats.