Caught in the web of intrigue

Issue No 4

31 January -6 February 2008

Caught in the web of intrigue

The arrest last week of Nicholas van Hoogstraten, on whatever charges might eventually be made to stick, is proof that nailing your colours to Mugabe's mast is a highly risky business. Nobody is safe.

Van Hoodstraten, a British national, is one of the very few Brits who supports Mugabe’s chaotic land reform programme, despite the fact that he is one of Zimbabwe’s land owners.Interestingly, his land has never been invaded, or taken. He is on record as having praised Mugabe for the land grab.
He is also heavily involved in business in Zimbabwe and the UK.Businesses are struggling to survive in the current economic climate, and most have had to resort to unorthodox methods of operating in order to keep going.
We understand that the charges against van Hoogstraten arise from his insistence on being paid rent for his 200 houses in hard currency. This is not unsual.Government itself robs people who import their private vehicles by charging duty in forex.The registrar general’s office insists on being paid in forex if one requires a passport application to be fast tracked.
Air Zimbabwe has asked to be allowed to be paid in foreign currency. Van Hoogstraten is not alone in losing confidence in the Zim dollar.Mugabe’s patronage may be all very well and good, but with inflation at 100,000% patronage can go just so far before reality kicks in.
But many Zanu (PF) heavies are involved in foreign currency deals and have not been touched by the authorities. Van Hoogstraten must have annoyed somebody very high up. Or else he has managed to get himself caught up in the Zanu (PF) web of intrigue over the succession issue.
His friendship with Emmerson Mnangagwa is well documented. The mere fact that the police have not yet lost any evidence would appear to indicate that they intend to proceed with the prosecution.
It has not escaped our attention that van Hoogstraten has not been locked up in some filthy holding cell or sent to Chikurubi for months, as happened to former minister Chris Kuruneri-who was eventually found not guilty of illicit forex dealings.
Somebody is still looking after him. Whether or not that someone is powerful enough to save him remains to be seen.

Word for Today:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 12:4-7

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