Gushungo clan unravelled

Part II of our expose on President Robert Mugabe's top level nepotism. During the past 27-years he has diverted plum political jobs and State-funded contracts to a far-reaching network of extended families belonging to his Gushungo clan.
The Ushewokunze family is re

lated to Mugabe through his mother, Bona, who was a strong influence on him. Mugabe appointed two Ushewokunze uncles, now both dead, as ministers in his Zanu (PF) government. Christopher Ushewokunze who lectured at the University of Zimbabwe, was an advisor to Mugabe on industry and business affairs, and Minister of Commerce and Industry.
The Chikerema clan is also related to Mugabe through his mother.
Chikerema uncles and cousins have benefited from the tie – although their relations have not always been rosy. Firebrand James Dambaza Chikerema, who died two years ago, was shamed by Mugabe even in death after the veteran leader staunchly refused to bury him at the national shrine. Chikerema was a rival of Mugabe in the nationalist movement of the early 60s.
However, in 1999 Mugabe appointed Chikerema to a Constitutional Commission designed further to entrench his rule and thwart calls for a more democratic constitution. The commission’s constitution was rejected in a referendum in February 2000. During his twilight years, Chikerema spoke out openly against Mugabe’s misrule. The veteran leader never forgave him.
Charles Chikerema, James’ brother, edited the government-run Sunday Mail, and when he died in 1998 was in charge of its daily stablemate, The Herald. In 1997, Simba Makoni, former Finance Minister and then chief executive of Zimpapers (Pvt.) Ltd, tried to sack Chikerema – and instead got fired himself on Mugabe’s instructions.
Then there is the Mushayakarara family whose relationship with Mugabe dates to earlier generations and Mugabe, in accordance with African custom, regards the current Mushayakararas as his nieces and nephews.
Elisha Mushayakarara, a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, was the chief executive of the state financial services group Financial Holdings (Finhold). The group owned Zimbabwe’s fourth largest bank, the Zimbabwe Banking Corporation. Lupi Mushayakarara, sister to Elisha, is an occasional critic of the Mugabe government but appears to have benefited from the family tie. In 1999 she quit the National Constitutional Assembly, a coalition of civic bodies campaigning for a new and democratic constitution, after Mugabe gave her a job on his Constitutional Commission.
The Mapondera family, whose brothers John and Hosea Mapondera and their sister Esnath Mapondera have also enjoyed the fruits of old and entwining relationships with the Mugabe family. Hosea is a former director-general of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, and John and Esnath sits on the boards of various government-owned companies.
The Chiyangwa family also belongs to the Gushungo clan. Philip Chiyangwa, a former member of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian army, is the self-styled champion of black economic empowerment. Chiyangwa, who until recently had direct access to Mugabe, has lucrative business interests in Zimbabwe and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He was fired from his Zanu (PF) Mashonaland West chairmanship after being fingered as the mastermind of a spy ring that was peddling state secrets to SA. Chiyangwa’s co-accused, most of them diplomats, are currently languishing in prison serving five-year prison terms for espionage. Chiyangwa was allegedly let off the hook after a secret presidential declaration of clemency.
Finally there is the Mutero family whose members enjoy the status of Mugabe nephews and nieces. Betty Mutero sits on the boards of several companies.

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