Zanu PF pays homage to Tagwirei

Last year Tagwirei embarked on a multi-million road project that links Donga business centre (Chachacha and Lalapanzi in Chirumanzu district) to ease transport woes for villagers in Shurugwi North.

Zanu PF held its last star rally at Tongogara growth point in Shurugwi yesterday, which many believe was meant to pay homage to the party’s chief benefactor, controversial businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei.

Apart from the rally, President Emmerson Mnangagwa also commissioned several projects in the area, which were spearheaded by Tagwirei. Tagwirei hails from Hankie, a stone’s throw away from the growth point, named after the late Zanla commander Josiah Magama Tongogara.

The Sakunda Holdings boss has been the chief benefactor of Mnangagwa’s rallies ahead of the elections slated for Wednesday with a member of the ruling party’s election fundraising committee claiming that the fuel magnate was pumping several thousands of dollars per week for the rallies.

The Zanu PF fundraising committee is chaired by Phillip Chiyangwa and other members of the committee are Tafadzwa Musarara, Scott Sakupwanya, Zodwa Mkandla, Antony Pote and Everasto Mudhikwa.

Mnangagwa commissioned  the refurbished Tongogara Clinic, which was built by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces while Sakunda Holdings donated medical equipment worth US$400 000.

Sakunda Holdings also donated a brand new fully equipped ambulance for the clinic, drilled a borehole and offered a resident doctor whose salary for one year will be paid by Arundel Hospital.

Arundel Hospital, a state-of-the-art health facility in Harare, is also owned by Tagwirei.

Last year Tagwirei embarked on a multi-million road project that links Donga business centre (Chachacha and Lalapanzi in Chirumanzu district) to ease transport woes for villagers in Shurugwi North.

Part of the completed project — a 17km stretch from Chachacha to Tongogara growth point — was opened to the motoring public before Christmas last year.

Mnangagwa also commissioned part of the completed road, attributing the success to his administration.

Shurugwi district development coordinator Romeo Shangwa in an interview with this publication early this year confirmed that the road project was being funded by the Sakunda Holdings boss.

Tongogara growth point is one of the several rural service centres that were accorded growth point status by the government shortly after independence.

With the new status, villagers expected a boom in business and a better life, but that has not been the case.

Instead, the centre is slowly turning into a ghost settlement.

Similar growth points such as Mupandawana in Gutu, Murambinda in Buhera, Mutora (Nembudziya) in Gokwe North, Murewa, Jerera in Zaka, Mutoko and Gokwe are now fully-developed business centres with several amenities.

Despite Shurugwi being endowed with mineral resources, for the past three decades, no meaningful development has taken place at Tongogara, save for a high school, clinic and Grain Marketing Board depot, which receives sporadic supplies of grain and agricultural inputs.

Even development ventures like the Tongogara Community Share Ownership Scheme and later the Shurugwi Development Trust have failed to stimulate development in this mineral rich community.

Both ventures are fronted by Shurugwi traditional leaders — chiefs Banga, Ndanga and Nhema who work with local authorities and government.

“It is surprising that we wait for an individual to come and construct a road and a clinic when we have so many resources as a district,” said a villager.

However, a Zanu PF fundraising committee member justified the party’s choice of Shurugwi as the last venue for the campaign.

“It was befitting for the last rally to be held in Mnangagwa’s Midlands Province and it was also poignant for Shurugwi in particular to host it because Tagwirei has been so generous, oiling the party from his pockets,” said the committee member.

Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa confirmed that the party’s campaign was funded by local businessmen without mentioning Tagwirei’s name.

“Zanu PF is a rich party, yes; we have successful businesspeople who have been sponsoring our rallies,” Mutsvangwa said.

“They are products of our successful Zanu PF policies so they support where their bread is buttered.

“We have young people who are doing wonders in mining and others are producing tobacco in areas like Magunje.”

Witwatersrand University-based political analyst Romeo Chasara said Tagwirei’s close ties to the ruling elite and his alleged involvement in corrupt practices raised concerns about state capture in the country.

“Tagwirei’s significant influence over key sectors of the economy, such as fuel and agriculture, has allowed him to shape policy decisions and benefit from opaque procurement processes,” Chasara said.

“This level of control and influence undermines the principles of transparency, accountability, and fair competition, and hinders the country's progress towards economic reform.”

The Sakunda boss has been criticised for his alleged involvement in corrupt practices, particularly in the fuel and agriculture sectors.

His company, Sakunda Holdings, has been accused of receiving preferential treatment in government contracts and benefiting from opaque procurement processes.

Tagwirei’s close relationship with influential political figures has raised suspicions of undue influence and cronyism.

Critics argue that his financial support to Zanu PF comes with strings attached, among them shaping policy decisions.

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