Zimbabwe Airways, a new company, seemingly established to avoid Air Zimbabwe’s massive debt is reportedly linked to President Robert Mugabe and his family. Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore who heads the broke national airline is said to have played a key role in setting up the new firm, a move seen as strengthening the autocrat’s control over national assets.
President Robert Mugabe and his family are shareholders in a new airline to be called Zimbabwe Airways.
Transport Minister Joram Gumbo said that the First Family – whose wealth and lavish spending are often a source of speculation in a country mired in economic crisis – is not in any way linked to the new airline.
The names of beneficial shareholders, however do not appear in company records.
The Financial Gazette says Mugabe’s son-in-law, Simba Chikore played a key role in setting up the new firm, which would be given licences to fly to London and the Far East. Chikore is currently the chief operating officer at Air Zimbabwe, the state-owned airline. The company is saddled with more than $300 million debt and has been barred from flying to the EU. There is speculation that setting up a new airline may be a way of sidestepping the debt.
“The law of the land however, does not allow a president to use his official position for personal gain,” Jacob Mafume of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party said in a statement