ZANU (PF) supported by multinationals

Concern remains high that ZANU PF is securing international funding ahead of the next presidential elections, to recreate the 2008 election scenario that secured Robert Mugabe’s place in power.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe warned on Tuesday that ZANU PF still has links to high earning international companies, who do not want to risk their business interests in Zimbabwe. He said this puts the party in a position to secure funding, while these companies turn a blind eye to potential human rights abuses.

“The real concern is that funds from overseas companies will be used to secure a war chest ahead of the elections. And if that happens, Zimbabwe will be plunged back into the same situation we saw in June 2008, if not worse,” Makumbe warned.

The Professor was speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Diaspora Diaries series, which this week continues its look at a complex circle of business deals and individuals all linked to a multi million dollar loan to the Mugabe regime in 2008. This cash injection saw the Mugabe regime cling to power through a campaign of violence and murder.

An investigation by the Mail & Guardian newspaper in South Africa has uncovered that an American institutional investor named Och Ziff financed that loan.

The deal started in 2008 with ZANU PF pressuring Anglo American Platinum to hand over about a quarter of its platinum concessions to the state, which then awarded the concessions to a group called Todal Mining, a joint venture between the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and a private company called Lefever Finance. This company in turn was owned by a shadowy group based in the British Virgin Islands called Meryweather Investments, linked to controversial businessman and ZANU PF functionary Billy Rautenbach.

Lefever Finance was then bought out by the Central African Mining and Exploration Company (Camec) for about five million dollars. It also threw in the US$100 million loan which it said was to help Lefever comply with its contractual obligations to Zimbabwe. The money went straight to Mugabe’s government, in a deal that saw the regime get its hands on much needed cash.

Camec was at the time chaired by a former British cricket player called Phil Edmonds, whose closest business ally was Rautenbach, who has made a fortune through illicit dealings with both the Mugabe regime and the government in the DRC. Rautenbach was also reportedly a 17% shareholder in Camec in 2006.

Another previous key shareholder in the company is an infamous Israeli businessman called Dan Gertler, known best for his dealings in the DRC copper industry. He also has strong Zimbabwe links and in 2006 bought half ownership of a copper mine in the DRC from Zim businessman John Bredenkamp. The other half of those shares was held by a group called Boss mining, 80% owned by Camec and formerly owned by Rautenbach.

In a new report the Mail & Guardian said that Gertler is synonymous with “grabbing and flipping” and allegedly used his relationship with politicians to secure mineral concessions in the DRC, only to sell them on at great profit.

One of these deals involved top South African businessman (and government Minister) Tokyo Sexwale who indirectly loaned Gertler more than US$100 million in 2008. The loan was made through the joint venture company between Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda Holdings and the Och Ziff group, responsible for the loan to Mugabe that same year.

Professor Makumbe said this kind of complicated circle of business dealings is a small part of how “ZANU PF is supported by multinational companies.” He said these companies are “linked to bootlicking the regime to secure their fortunes in Zimbabwe.”

“This is part and parcel of the bribery and ransacking still going on between ZANU PF and these companies,” Makumbe warned. SW Radio Africa

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