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Why would a head of state prefer the company of criminals?

26 May 2024 at 13:53hrs | Views
It is not surprising at all coming across photographs of a national president posing with various individuals.

These could be anything from other heads of state, foreign envoys, public personalities, and prominent business people.

This is a common occurrence, usually after important meetings - whereby the president shows his constituents the relevance of the visiting individual or individuals.

Let me hasten to add that not everyone ordinarily has access to a national leader since this is a preserve of those regarded with great importance - which becomes a great honor.

In most cases, those awarded this amazing honor are people who are considered to have something of significance to contribute to national development or bilateral relations (in the case of foreign dignitaries).

That is why in the US, for instance, not ever Tom, Dick, and Harry is invited to the White House.

No wonder Kenya's William Ruto is currently over the moon, having been given the privilege of meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden.

Ruto was so chuffed and desperate to impress that he hired a private jet from Abi Dhabi for a staggering US$1.5 million!

I do not know what poor Kenyans think about such extravagance.

However, as a head of state himself, I am sure he understands that being invited to a fellow president's official residence is not a small matter - which should be a preserve for only the best of the best.

This brings me to our own Zimbabwe.

I have seen quite a number of photographs of President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa with some visitors to his official residence, State House.

Nonetheless, one can not help noticing a highly disturbing trend.

For some strange reason, most of those proudly taken pictures alongside the highest office on the land are dubious characters at best and even convicted criminals at worst.

I find myself wondering why a whole head of state would want anything to do with such individuals.

Surely, what does Mnangagwa have in common with Wicknell Chivayo, or Passion Java, or even Mai Titi?

Chivayo is a well-known convicted criminal who was jailed for two years (between 2005 and 2007) for money laundering.

He was also arrested in 2018 on allegations of defrauding power utility ZESA US$5 million for a solar power plant he won a tender to construct in Gwanda.

As much as he was eventually exonerated on this charge, this does not remove the fact that he is still a convicted felon.

So, again, I ask: Why does the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe love associating with a criminal?

What is even more perplexing, if not utterly troubling, is that Chivayo is now given pride of place by Mnangagwa, to the extent of being introduced to the visiting Ruto last month.

We all watched in shock as Chivayo stood proudly between Mnangagwa and Ruto.

What does that say about our country or the president himself  - as I am certain the Kenyan leader was aware or was later made aware that this was an ex convict?

We can move on Java and Mai Titi - who are, quite frankly, nothing more than clowns with their own baggage.

This is the same Mai Titi who spent four and a half months (of an 18-month and a half sentence) in prison for fraud.

She subsequently won her case on appeal at the High Court in November 2023 and was released.

Nevertheless, this can never wash away the fact that she was involved in such shenanigans in the first place.

In fact, she is the same lady whose nude pictures went viral last year and was recently turned away at London Heathrow Airport for attempting to enter the UK on the wrong visa.

Java, on the other hand, has been fingered in endless scandals, most particularly involving extra marital affairs, amongst others.  

Does Mnangagwa not have more respectable people to meet?

How about inviting Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa to State House?

This is a very honorable man who has made his billions through reputable means and is an asset to the country.

Would such a meeting not even help the president have a deeper understanding of the concerns of big business in Zimbabwe as well as tap his mind on policies that can uplift the country's economy?

Besides, individuals as Masiyiwa have become highly successful through honest, hard work as opposed to questionable deals.

There are so many Zimbabweans in the same mold as Masiyiwa, whom the president can associate with for the good of the country.

Imagine the significance upon the country had the picture with Mnangagwa and Ruto also featured an internationally-renowned tycoon as Masiyiwa.

Yet, our head of state preferred a convicted criminal!

This should send shivers down the spine of every right-thinking Zimbabwean.

Why would a national leader prefer the company of criminals than people of reputable standing?

This plants uncomfortable questions in the citizenry.

Let us also remember the adage, “birds of a feather flock together.”

- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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