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A CLIQUE of businesspersons and companies — including Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chair Ray Kaukonde and Kingdom Bank founder Mr Nigel Chanakira — has allegedly been financing Vice President Joice Mujuru’s attempt to topple President Mugabe, according to State media.
The report says businesspersons and companies are either struggling financially at present and hope to secure their future by capturing State power, or are investing in the palace coup in the hope of reaping bigger dividends in the event that VP Mujuru becomes President.
Kaukonde could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was said to be in South Africa.
Mr Chanakira is alleged to have promised to respond to the allegations but subsequent efforts to contact him proved fruitless.
Details gathered by our Harare Bureau show Kaukonde’s Scotia Holdings, a non-listed conglomerate with interests in automobiles, food processing and retail among others, and Mr Chanakira, among others, have been quite active in mobilising resources for the VP’s plot.
Both men are said to be in unenviable financial positions, and have allegedly pinned their hopes for recovery on strategically advancing VP Mujuru’s agenda.
Kaukonde has faced lawsuits pertaining to multimillion dollar debts accrued by his automobiles interests, and is reportedly facing serious labour unrest deriving from non-payment of salaries at Amalgamated Motor Corp.
Employees at AMC have gone for months without being paid and are planning on taking their employer to court; while Spar Borrowdale Brooke has closed shop.
It is understood that Kaukonde has leveraged his interest in Innscor and National Foods to get the firms to back VP Mujuru.
In Mr Chanakira’s case, it is understood that the struggling ex-banker has convened factional meetings at the premises of the church he attends in Harare, prompting President Mugabe to remark after being briefed of the development: “Is that the new party headquarters?”
The money has been used to buy allegiance of party officials at various levels of Zanu-PF’s administration.
And with the recent dismissals of provincial chairpersons and other executives involved in the palace coup, the money is now being earmarked for district officials ahead of Central Committee nominations.
Investigations by this newspaper show that the top three district officials across the country are being offered $4 000 each.
“There are two categories of businesspeople backing Mujuru,” said a senior Zanu-PF official last week. “There are those who are struggling and who think capturing State power will allow them to reposition their businesses. And then there are those who are on a sound footing and have gambled on Mujuru in the hope of being rewarded later on.
“Whatever the case, it shows that there are no ideological underpinnings to the support. Rather, these are people who view the State as a feeding trough and quite frankly, it is a scary thought that such people aspire to take over the country.”
President Mugabe publicly slammed the blatant vote-buying at the party’s Youth Conference earlier this year as VP Mujuru’s allies sought to stuff the leadership with their acolytes.
And during her tour of the provinces, Grace Mugabe said VP Mujuru and Kaukonde were using money to influence internal voting patterns.