PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona Chikore, has been appointed a board member of the soon-to-be-established Empower Bank, which will be run by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb).
By Kudzai Kuwaza/Hazel Ndebele
This comes on the heels of her appointment to the Aeneas Chigwedere-led Censorship Board which was announced by Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo on Tuesday this week.
Bona’s husband Simba was appointed chief operating officer of Air Zimbabwe in October last year, triggering a storm of patronage, nepotism and cronyism.
Sources said Bona has been appointed to the board of the micro-finance bank, which will be chaired by banker Raymond Njanike. “The board has been set up and Bona Chikore will be a member,” a source revealed.
“The bank will be headed by Wellington Zengeza, who is currently one of the general managers at Nieeb. Although there is no date set yet for the bank to begin operations, it will start operating soon.”
Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao, who is Mugabe’s nephew, confirmed Bona’s appointment.
He said plans for the setting up of the bank were at an advanced stage. “We have asked a number of people to assist in putting together the necessary paperwork for the establishment of the Empower Bank as part of efforts to promote financial inclusion,” Zhuwao said on Wednesday.
“Part of the process is to ensure that it is properly licensed by the regulatory authorities and the paperwork has been submitted.”
He said Bona, alongside lawyer Rudo Kumirai and William Chaitezvi, have been appointed to the board, not only for their skills, but as part of the ministry’s policy to promote youth. He confirmed that the ministry has proposed that Njanike lead the board which will also comprise Judith Katerera from the Ministry of Finance as well as former Nieeb chief executive Wilson Gwatiringa.
Zhuwao said he was confident that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will issue Nieeb a licence soon. All the necessary paperwork has been submitted to the central bank.
Bona joins an ever-increasing list of persons linked to the First Family to be appointed to government or state-run institutions.
Other appointments include Mugabe’s nephew, Zhuwao, Zimbabwe National Roads Authority board chairman Albert Mugabe, Industry minister Mike Bimha, Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, Industry minister Mike Bimha and Transport minister Joram Gumbo.
Mugabe also has relatives in the diplomatic service among them Zimbabwe’s ambassador to India Maxwell Ranga, while many others are serving in the state security forces. Deputy Police Commissioner-General Innocent Matibiri is Mugabe’s close relative.