Former president Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore has admitted that Zimbabwe Airways was set up tp avoid Air Zimbabwe’s debts and obligations. He also denied allegations that his in-laws, the former first family were the owners of the airline. The ownership of Zimbabwe Airlines is still unclear as Minister of Transport Jorum Gumbo has given contrasting statements in the past.
In an interview with The Standard, Chikore said,
After being assigned to Air Zimbabwe, the minister and his colleagues wanted to have a way to bring in to the country new assets that were not involved in big challenges, for example, in debt. We didn’t want to have an airline that is impounded. We didn’t want to have an airline, which had such stigma.
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Zimbabweans were calling their own airline Mazarura and things like this and so on and so forth. So the minister’s vision was to create an airline that everyone is proud of, an operation that can go anywhere in the world.
Why do we not fly direct to New York? Why do we not fly direct to London? Why do we not have our own airline that goes from here to China even though we have some big business between the two countries? It’s because of those things, sanctions, stigma, unprofessionalism and all these kind of things.
So what better way to do it properly and the way the minister decided to do it was standard internationally. What they decided to do was to have those planes with a different ownership.
…The interest in the extent of the former president was his simple support to also want a good airline… if the presidents stop flying Air Zimbabwe, watch and see what will happen, there will not be one flight. That’s the extent to which we can say the former president was involved.
If people are interested they can go to the registrar of companies to see who owns the company, they’ll see the CR40, they’ll see the CR6, they will see the stakeholder, and my name is not there. The company itself belongs to the government of Zimbabwe, the proof is there and it’s public knowledge.
More: The Standard