FORMER President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, had reportedly set aside a $10 million “kitty” disguised as an Empowerment Bank to fund sinister activities involving members of Zanu PF’s G40 faction, as the succession battle reached its crescendo two months ago, a central committee report presented to the ruling party’s just-ended extraordinary congress has claimed.
The report also reveals that new party leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa inherited a heavily indebted party, sinking in a $20 million debt accumulated during Mugabe’s 37-year reign.
While the women’s league report glossed over Grace’s activities that triggered a brutal fall-out leading to the military intervention and Mugabe’s eventual ouster last month, the youth league was blunt.
“Furthermore the department (youth league) is concerned about the recently launched Empowerment Bank and the $10 million purportedly injected meant to fund youth projects. The ministry (sic) is not clear on how the money was supposed to be disbursed,” the league said.
“We strongly feel the money was meant to oil the cabal machinery. The youth league is keen to know more about this project and how the same can be used to empower the youth”.
At the launch of the fund in October, Grace launched a tirade at Mnangagwa describing the then Vice-President as nothing but a beneficiary of her husband’s benevolence.
Grace was responding to claims by Mnangagwa that he had been poisoned while his supporters went further to blame ice cream from Mugabe’s Gushungo Dairies for the alleged attempted assassination.
The issue left Mugabe seething in anger, while Grace argued Mnangagwa was trying to seek sympathy by claiming there was a plot to kill him.
Up until last month, when Mugabe succumbed to military pressure and resigned, his wife had emerged as a leading contender to succeed him after successfully elbowing out Mnangagwa and forcing him to flee the country. The military claimed its “Operation Restore Legacy” was meant to restore order in the ruling party and get rid of “counter-revolutionaries in the form of G40, who had captured and surrounded the President”.
The military intervention left the G40 scattered with leading figures like former Cabinet Ministers, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao now in exile. Former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo (pictured) has been arrested several times for one transgression after another all linked to corruption, former Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has literally gone underground. Ex-youth league leader, Kudzanayi Chipanga has been by Chombo’s side in and out of prison.
According to the central committee report, Zanu PF is in an unsustainable financial situation.
“The party’s financial situation, however, remains unfavourable. This has implications on the party’s ability to honour its obligations, which in some cases have been outstanding since 2009, as well as roll out of its programmes and activities,” the report said.
Zanu PF, according to the report, is surviving mainly on funding from the government under the Political Parties Finance Act.
“Donations rose 40,6% during the period under review. This has seen the share of donations in total revenue increasing from 12,3% in 2016 to 16,5% in 2017. This may not be a favourable picture, where the party relies on handouts.
“The bulk of the party’s funding came from the government political parties grant ($3 829 658) although its contribution to the total revenue has been declining over the years. It declined from 52,9% in 2016 to 42,1% in 2017,” the report added.
Known for using coercive measures in its fundraising activities, Zanu PF raised $3 206 000 from struggling Zimbabweans and institutions failing to pay workers in the private sector. And despite commandeering tens of thousands to its rallies paraded as its members, the former liberation movement’s coffers received a trickle from these.
“Fundraising activities accounted for 35,25% of total revenue in 2017 compared with 29% in 2016. There has not been significant revenue from the sale and subscription of membership cards (0,4% of total revenue in 2017),” the report said.
The party, however, said it anticipated a growth in revenues from membership card sales.
Zanu PF, according to the report, also received donations of $1,5 million, which showed a 40,6% increase compared to the 2016 figure