26 November 2017

Zimbabwe: Prosecution Immune Mugabe Snuggles With Grace While Allies Burn

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Former president Robert Mugabe and wife Grace (file photo).

Ousted President Robert Mugabe has secured immunity for self, family and wealth but has left his nephew and allies who helped prop up his rule to face the wrath of his successors.

Under fire finance Minister Ignatius Chombo is wallowing in remand prison on corruption charges.

Zanu PF youth leaders Kudzanayi Chipanga and Innocent Hamandishe have joined him albeit with lesser charges of undermining the Defence Forces.

Cabinet ministers Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Walter Mzembi, Makhosini Hlongwane and Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao all formed the nucleus of the infamous G40 brigade now facing the music.

They were sent scuttling in all directions when the military seized control of government over a week ago and placed Mugabe under house arrest.

Masvingo provincial affairs minister Paul Chimedza is also part of top Mugabe allies who are on the run.

Reports of their whereabouts remain a mystery.

Energy minister Samuel Undenge and Manicaland provincial affairs minister Mandi Chimene have both seen the wall that protected them against Mugabe collapse spectacularly.

Of the embattled lot, Chombo has come out worse off with signs the new Emmerson Mnangagwa led government was intent on settling old scores with Mugabe's top aides.

Chombo, seen as a stumbling block to a Mnangagwa take-over, faces a lengthy jail term if found guilty for offences touching on criminal abuse of office.

When it took control of government, the country's military insisted the controversial "Operation Restore Legacy" was aimed at "fishing out" corrupt elements allegedly abusing Mugabe's name to loot.

But as it turned out he had lost grip on power, a besieged President Mugabe then, toiled to secure his immunity for crimes committed during his iron fisted rule and his wealth.

Mugabe has vast wealth in property, companies and agro-based businesses.

It was not clear if Mugabe ever tried to negotiate immunity for his allies or he was simply content with guarantees of his own safety.

People' Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti said Mugabe has never been concerned about anyone except his own interests and those of his family.

"I think Mugabe should not have negotiated for peace and stability in the country. Not for himself and his family.

"Anyway that does not surprise, it's typical of President Mugabe.

"On the other hand the victors of the day must not be vindictive," Biti said.

When Chombo was being taken into a Zimbabwe Prison Service truck en-route for remand on Saturday, hordes of people who witnessed the incident at the Harare magistrate's court mocked him for his fall from glory.

"At least you will have your own interface rally there in jail," one man could be heard mocking Chombo. This was a sarcastic reference to Mugabe's rallies during which former first Lady Grace Mugabe lambasted senior Zanu PF members.

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