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Corruption watch: Kembo Mohadi and his trail of scandals

Kembo Mohadi

So, we keep going with our insights into how far or near our national leadership is corrupt.

Nothing too presumptuous about this. In Zimbabwe so far, you can’t be a national leader if you haven’t been involved in one form of corruption or another. It’s a rite of passage, particularly in the ruling Zanu PF. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with proceeding from the premise that corruption is a necessary condition for Zimbabwean national leadership.

We have already talked about President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga. On the scoreboard, they don’t do too badly. They have scored very lowly on our corruption index. That makes them very good national leaders.

It’s now Mr Campbell’s turn. Kembo Mohadi. He is called Campbell and Dugish too. “Kembo” looks very superfluous and tautologous.  It’s a bastardisation of Campbell. You know those chaps that used to do your birth certificates and so on during colonial times now.

You had two choices. You either got your son’s birthday certificate or you trekked off. Now, if you seriously wanted the document, you musn’t question the semi-literate guy who sat in that sordid office about the correct way of spelling your son’s name.  You got what he wrote on the certificate and moved. So, your imagination is not too fertile to assume that they went there expecting their son’s name to be written “Campbell” but got “Kembo” instead. But maybe the father had the privilege to insist, so that’s how the registration officer squeezed Campbell into the space reserved for the name.

Never mind, though. A few years ago, Mohadi walked away from a groundbreaking ceremony at the Norton-based Chinese tile-making company, Sunny Yi Feng. He had just been appointed VP following the power-kidnapping stunt that pushed the late Robert Mugabe over the cliff.

The assumption then was that he was  miffed by the fact that the law had not been followed when Sunny was given that multi-hectare wetland to produce tiles when Norton has stretches and stretches of suitable industrial land elsewhere. You know the big rumour. The land where Sunny was located is a gold belt, tiles apart.

They had driven off the widow of the late former general, Vitalis Zvinavashe, from the land so as to give it over to Sunny Yi Feng, thanks to Perrance Shiri, then Lands minister. Sunny Yi Feng got the nod to do “tiles” on the land even though no environmental impact assessment had been done as the law requires.

In that regard, you are tempted to give Mohadi the benefit of doubt. Let’s assume, for argument's sake, that, by spurning the groundbreaking ceremony, he was making the statement that the law must be followed.

But you can only go so far with this kind of optimism. It’s just too hard to imagine Mohadi flying and dancing with the angels. 

Here’s a guy who was Home Affairs minister from 2002 to 2015, after which he was re-appointed by Mugabe as State Security minister. That was the period during which most of us got to know that there is the term “rule of law”. Not because there was rule of law, no. On the contrary, that was the period when Zimbabwe recorded probably the worst cases of criminal violations in the history of the country outside Gukurahundi.

You had all sorts of systematic murders, abductions and enforced disappearances, property rights violations and the worst forms of corruption. Ask Jestina Mukoko. Ask Beatrice Mtetwa. Ask Job Sikhala. Etc, etc.

The Home Affairs ministry is the police’s parent ministry. The police was among the security departments that perpetrated those heinous violations. 

Well, you may want to say Augustine Chihuri was more powerful than his minister because, as a security chief, he was reporting directly to the president, his commander. That doesn’t take away the inalienable fact that he was an accomplice. If he didn’t like what was happening, he should have just excused himself from the corridors of power. The fact that he was put on sanctions speaks to this too. He had a part to play in the violations.

That aside, what do you make of the office of the registrar and its shenanigans during his tenure as Home Affairs minister? You all know how the registrar’s office was playing around with the voters’ roll and what not. During Kembo’s time, Nikuv got paid handsomely for manipulating the voters’ roll. If Mohadi didn’t pen the deal, he’s  still guilty because he was part of the system. He can’t say, “I was right; they were wrong”. Paying Nikuv to help fix the elections is the highest form of corruption.

Let’s mix up the sequence for a while. Just recently, Mohadi, who had to resign from his position as VP last year following a series of revelations that he was doing naughty things with married and unmarried women alike, received about 2000 litres of fuel from public money.

Mohadi is no longer working for the government, at least not directly. He is now only a VP in Zanu PF, which is a private institution. Now, private institutions must stay away from the public purse as far as the Eskimos must from the sun. But that wasn’t the case here. Mohadi accepted the fuel knowing too well that he wasn’t supposed to. That’s theft, which is criminal. It’s corruption.

In addition, President Mnangagwa assigned him to take a whole village to bury the former Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe. He travelled on taxpayer’s money, and knew it.

A rebellious youth team in Zanu PF at one time named Mohadi as one of the most corrupt leaders in the party. You could say that the young guys were just being naughty and doing things on behalf of their factional godfathers. But you will agree that there was something particularly telling about the lists that the youth rebels drew up. Just about everyone who is not compromised agrees that the people listed by the young rebels are, indeed, corrupt. Some of them actually went on to be arrested on corruption-based charges.

Not much will be said about his sexual exploits that brought him to his self-funded Waterloo. Save to say he was certainly abusing public resources for his own sexual gratification. You will mind, of course, the fact that Mohadi reads like an Almanac of scandals. Not that he is guilty as reported. It’s just that he seems so unfortunate as he has this tendency to attract too much controversy, with people linking him to rape, matrimonial violence, smuggling, you name it.

And the poor guy has his fair share of what seems like spiritual problems. Like, who resigns from his office on the basis of sexual scandals in Zimbabwe? Mugabe had his own fair share of scandals but didn’t go because of that. Mohadi’s former colleague in the presidium, Constantine Chiwenga, has been there too as far as marital scandals are concerned.

If you then compare him with his boss in the party, President Mnangagwa, you easily understand why Mohadi he had to go and kneel before that scandalous Malawian bush doctor, Shepherd Bushiri, to manage the evil spirits that seem to follow him wherever he goes.

Mohadi resigned—or was he forced to do so—on the basis of leaked recordings? None of the reported victims came forth to expose him. Contrast that with his boss, President Mnangagwa. Susan Mutami spent hours and hours talking about how the president had allegedly abused her. The purported victim is the one who was actually talking. The world didn’t get the sleazy stuff from leaks. But Mnangagwa is still sitting firm and is actually seeking re-election.

Tell me, between the two, who had a better reason to resign from public office? The one exposed on the basis of leaks or the one exposed on the basis of direct allegations from a purported victim?

This is not exactly to say people must sympathise with Mohadi. As already said, it’s plain uphill to imagine him floating with the saints.  It’s confusing why they had to retain him as VP in the party, but then, anything and everything goes in Zanu PF.

Tawanda Majoni writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted majonitt@gmail.com

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