Rwodzi arrest shows weakening of Mujuru faction

When prominent banker Farai Rwodzi, a non-executive director at telecoms company Africom Holdings, was arrested on espionage charges alongside acting chief executive Simba Mangwende and engineer Oliver Chiku, not much was made of the case. The trio were accused of illegally setting up satellite communication equipment to leak official secrets to foreign countries.

Farai Rwodzi
Farai Rwodzi

At the time we reported that Rwodzi had close links to the Mujuru faction in ZANU PF and speculated on the possible motives behind the arrest. SW Radio Africa has now received allegations that members of the Emmerson Mnangagwa faction engineered the arrest “to send a message to Vice President Joice Mujuru, that your husband is no longer here and we can do anything we want.”

A source close to the Mujuru faction has told us that Rwodzi basically ran Mujuru’s vast business empire which included mining, agriculture, transport, tourism and investment in the construction industry. One of the projects, diamond mine River Ranch which was seized from its original owners, is allegedly used to launder illegally smuggled diamonds from the DRC. Illegal DRC gold deals also form part of the Mujuru ‘empire.’

Rwodzi calls Joice Mujuru ‘mainini’ or auntie and is a close relative, hence the trust. SW Radio Africa has been told that Rwodzi is viewed as the ‘key money man’ in the Mujuru faction and the arrest was made to demonstrate how the Mnangagwa faction now had the upper hand following Solomon Mujuru’s death. “They are trying to show Joice that she is now weak and isolated,” the source said.

SW Radio Africa was told: “It appears the Mnangagwa faction is controlling the police force and they ordered Rwodzi’s arrest. Rwodzi was only released on bail following the intervention of one of his key business partners, Adam Molai, who is married to one of Mugabe’s nieces and is a well-known tobacco merchant. Molai has direct access to Mugabe and convinced him to get Rwodzi released,” he said.

Meanwhile the Canadian firm sucked into the Rwodzi espionage case has described as ‘unfounded’ the allegations that a satellite system supplied by them was used to send state secrets to Canada, the United States and Afghanistan. Juch-Tech president Walt Juchniewicz said the company feels the accusations are ‘very slanderous against its 25-year reputation.”

He said when they visited Zimbabwe they had the approval of the executives and full co-operation of Africom employees. “Africom and the landlord of the property gave their permission to the location of the dish and I was assured by Africom that they had all required licensing to operate in Zimbabwe." – SW Radio Africa

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