Secret treasures of Nelson Chamisa
A politician, a public figure, an oppositionist, an authoritarian leader, a former presidential candidate, the main ally of the United States and Great Britain in Zimbabwe, all of it describes Nelson Chamisa. It is most likely you are familiar with his views, plans and political aspirations, and if not, just check out the social media, he has probably already posted there how he helped a granny cross a road in Masvingo or fixed the water supply system in Chitungwiza. We are here for something else – to uncover everything hidden behind his bright public image: huge sums on bank accounts, luxurious real estate and car park, connections and financial flows from the Western sponsors and hot shots in South Africa and Zimbabwe, from South African opposition and political NGOs, black market operations, all of it is just a tip of an iceberg once you have read it to the end.
Why do we release it? We believe that every respectable citizen should know the true motifs of those who preach to crowds of people and the whole country.
Why should we be trusted? We are a team of independent journalists-investigators who are called Zim Insider. We believe it is our civic duty to publish materials concealed from the majority of Zimbabweans. We have conducted a series of interviews with multiple Zimbabwean politicians and activists so as to find out the truth. Some of our sources are part of the Nelson Chamisa inner circle and we will not disclose their names for the sake of their safety. They entrusted us with the confidential information on their patron in the hope that it would see the light of day and reach people in Zimbabwe, so we ask you to help share this article, let it be seen by as many as possible.
We are not saying you should take it on trust, just see the facts provided below, which need to be explained by those involved. Hold Chamisa accountable for the Sandton mansion, donations and luxury cars, pose questions to Sibanda about the black market, call for Biti’s answer to financial frauds and then draw conclusions. If the opposition is really standing for complete transparency, let them answer uncomfortable questions. Because you deserve to know the truth, the only thing left now is to read up.
Part 1. Funding (where it came from, what it was spent for)
Here you will find the evidence showing the amount of funding he gained during the elections and where the funds went for later on. Interaction with NGOs (including those fully controlled by the United States i.e. Team Pachedu), getting funding, fundraising campaigns.
Over the past few years, Chamisa, under the cover of the party activities, does not cease to set up “donor” fundraising campaigns on various platforms, from crowdfunding to a regular local bank account. For instance, in early July 2018, before the presidential elections, he launched a “cash flash mob”, including the local Ecocash platform due to the party “financial instability”. All of it, despite the state funds of $ 1.8 million he had just received for the election campaign.
In May 2019, the candidate’s presidential campaign was sponsored by a former country leader, Robert Mugabe, who allocated US $24 million and 12 luxury cars. The former leader openly expressed support for Chamisa right before the election campaign.
Regarding the car park, back in January 2019 MDC legislators were the ones who demanded Toyota Land Cruisers that are valued between US$60 000 and US$180 000 each. Let us recall that during the eighth Parliament, lawmakers were mostly given Ford Rangers valued at about US$35 000 each.
One of the Chamisa pre-election trips was to Ghana. The reason for the trip was never adequately explained by the MDC party representatives. The choice of the country was not by chance as it has become the “gray” area necessary to transfer funds for the campaign. A close circle of Chamisa’s friends from the pro-American J.F. Kennedy School of Public Administration raised funds for the campaign, which came directly from the Americans.
“He is hoping to get money from Ghana. There are some Ghanaians who went to the J.F Kennedy School of Public Administration with Chamisa and they are ones who are mobilising resources for him (Mr Chamisa).
“The money is coming from the Americans and the idea is to make it come through Ghana. This is the reason why the MDC-A officials have been at pains to explain the purpose of Mr Chamisa’s visit to Ghana — it was not a clean trip.”
What else can spice up Chamisa’s routine life? Certainly, misappropriation of budget funds. In August 2018 the MDC-T leader Dr Thokozani Khupe and other party veterans bring to the court attention and challenge the $ 1.8 million issued under the law on the financing of political parties. It turned out that our subject filed an application with another party (MDC Alliance), and then received funds as a representative of MDC-T, of which he is not a member. By law, only parties that have scored 5% of the total number of votes can qualify for the state co-financing.
The wrangle has seen Chamisa and former MDC-T Vice President Thokozani Khupe’s factions tussle for the party’s name, logo as well as funds allocated by treasury to parties that reached the 5 percent threshold in national polls as is required under the Political Parties (Finance) Act.
Based on the 2013 poll outcome, MDC-T was allocated $1 873 663,83 while Zanu PF got $6 126 633,17.
“You fraudulently got $1.8 million from the national treasury. We are coming for you. Trust me. We want our money. Hatidzori tsvimbo (we won’t relent),” posted MDC-T Deputy President Obert Gutu on Twitter.
He went on to accuse his former ally of imposing himself as leader of the main opposition through violence Febriary this year.
“You grab power through violence, chicanery and blackmail and you think you can land at state house through the same crooked means! Ku state house kure…lol (becoming state president is tough),” he added.
Chamisa lost the July 30 election to Zanu PF’s Emmerson Mnangagwa but has put up a strong fight to have the Zanu PF leader’s victory reversed on claims of poll fraud.
The plot of the next careful handling of money deserves special attention, perhaps even the reader’s understanding – everything should be brought to the house. Literally. The funds donated by the conscious British citizens living in South Africa in April 2019 for the development of the opposition party in Zimbabwe, a tiny amount of £ 165,000 got settled under the foundation of a new house of the self-elected head of the party. Chamisa decided to keep up with Malema, the people’s South African candidate, and build a mansion in Sandton – Beverly Hills of the capital Johannesburg. Why spend the donations to organize the May party elections? According to the MDC Veterans Activist Association (VAA) members, Chamisa spent those donations not to develop the party but to build a house in Sandton, a prestigious Joburg suburb, and also buy votes, intimidate and threaten party members who supported Douglas Mwonzora, a politician who claimed leadership in MDC.
The following statement by Chamisa sounds ironically indeed:
“What shocks me is the institutionalization and deception by these colleagues. Do you tell me that the corruption that is happening in Zimbabwe is not known at the top? It’s known,” he said.
Still, as if he did not know about his own sins.
The story becomes no less interesting. A former employee for the US embassy in Harare, who quit right before an investigation into internal misuse of funds (softening the blow in time), played a key role in the transfer of donations from the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa to the Electoral Resource Center. You will be barely surprised because it was he who was the personal adviser to the head of the MDC Alliance Chamisa, and also accompanied the right hand of Chamisa – Mr Tendai Biti on a trip to the USA. Therefore, it would be hard not to guess that it was the MDC Alliance party headed by Chamisa that received millions of dollars that went to enrich the opposition leader and his minions, including Mr Chamisa’s spokesperson, Dr Nkululeko Sibanda.
The road to donors
And now let us shed a little more detail on the overseas voyages of the famous opposition leader.
The trip to Washington in December by Chamisa, Tendai Biti and Dewa Mavhunga was not only treacherous but a sign of desperation on the part of the MDC Alliance. It was made worse by the fact Chamisa, Biti and Mavhinga appeared telling Americans that the ZDERA administered sanctions must stay. While Chamisa did not directly address members of the Foreign Relations Committee, Mavhinga and Biti did the bidding. They had nothing else to say but paint a sordid picture of the country’s political environment insisting that the MDC was still a relevant project worth investing in.
With United States appearing to be the only country that had not openly embraced the new administration, Chamisa and crew felt it convenient to literally appeal to babysit the MDC Alliance.
So the trip to America was essentially a brown nosing trip meant to salvage the party’s diminishing returns. While the trip could have been lifesaver in cajoling some prospective donors to support the opposition party, it essentially had nothing to do with Zimbabweans.
Just like Mavhinga, the main reason for Biti and Chamisa’s sojourn in Washington was to beg for money.
Chamisa’s Israel trip must thus be viewed within the same context as the Washington trip. The only difference is that the young impressionable politician failed to meet any bona fide Israel officials and ended up framing the trip as a “spiritual renewal trip.” Chamisa could not hide his sycophantic antics towards Israel, a country known for its strong links with America.
In summary, Chamisa is on a desperate mission to endear himself with possible allies that would work as a bulwark against the potential tsunami set to befall him and his political outfit. He is desperate for relevance and money and is prepared to do all it takes to win the confidence of the few countries that he has identified as amenable to the opposition’s intransigent politics.
It is not surprising that Chamisa’s dependence on donations got him hooked on a financial needle that made it challenging to perceive the reality. It is barely possible to imagine a more inventive way to raise your own rating – all you have to do is to inform the wider audience that you were talking to Trump on the phone and he promised no less than US $ 15 billion that Chamisa would have whole-heartedly spent on the development of his native Zimbabwe. The statement was immediately refuted by the American side. Just imagine how confident Chamisa feels in his own lies, he is not embarrassed by any possible consequences or the reaction of supporters, and this is amazing. Do you know why? After all, there is already so much plunder that you no longer need to worry about such trifles. Chamisa’s Zimbabwe would be open for donations, not for business.
No less interesting episodes complete the portrait of the opposition leader: as a true gentleman Chamisa pounced on MDC-T’s colleague Mrs. Dr Khupe at the funeral of the party veteran, and also tried to set fire to the hut where the woman was trying to hide. Only vigilant policemen managed to save her. A little later, Chamisa offered to bet his teenage sister for Mnangagwa, if the latter won the elections. During the protests he called his supporters who had suffered for him on the streets0 stupid, for sure you certainly did not forget this episode.
Let us address the elephant in the room, annually Zimbabwe receives US $ 310 million through the US NGOs, primarily USAID, which passes through organizations such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), the Election Resource Center (ERC), the Counseling Services Unit (CSU). 90% of the funds received go to the salaries of officials, including Chamisa, who repeatedly used his official position and access to funds allocated by USAID and the US embassy in Harare.
The US, through its US Agency for International Development (USAid) last year (2018) suspended funding of some of these NGOs that include Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Counselling Services Unit (CSU) for failure to observe set financial guidelines and other improprieties.
The news of the Amnesty International Zimbabwe closing down in May 2019 received little publicity in the media. The branch of the giant Amnesty International, whose funds are allocated to support civil society activists and democracy, was closed due to financial fraud, when millions of US dollars went down the drain. Guess who was the main recipient of funds from the organization? The answer is the most “unpredictable” – Chamisa and the MDC party. The opposition leader legally uses the funds of charitable organizations for his own enrichment, not hesitating to steal big-time. The main office of Amnesty is opening a criminal case and is to investigate its branch activities.
The NGOs and civil society enjoy a relationship with the MDC Alliance that has seen the former also backchanelling funds from Western capitals to the party.
And in the shady dealings involving the opposition and the NGOs lots of money has been lost to corruption as officials have abused monies for projects, funding jet-set lifestyles for themselves.
Previously, USAid, the US Embassy in Harare and other Western embassies have lost significant amounts of money but the matters have been hushed owing to the illicit nature of the operations.
Most of the senior managers at the organisations have been accused of abusing donor funds to live luxurious lifestyles including building houses in up market residential areas and driving expensive cars.
For example, the amount allocated to Usaid for three years (2011-2013) was US $ 850 million. Let us guess, how many luxurious mansions can be built for this money?
The party headed by Chamisa is far from playing a fair game. Chamisa encourages a fake news war in every way, which, with his light touch, is spreading on social media to lobby for the views he has a need for. The following can be distinguished among the many fake newsbreaks:
· A purported official letter announcing the resignation of the president of the newly formed National Patriotic Front.
· The circulation of a fake sample of a ballot paper aimed at discrediting the electoral commission, and
· A sensational claim that Chamisa had offered to make controversial former first Lady Grace Mugabe his vice president if he wins.
Another group that supports Chamisa and is complicit in spreading fake news is the organization titled Team Pachedu that began to aggressively broadcast fake news not supported by any evidence after the Chamisa’s loss in the presidential elections. Pretending to be “neutral activists” in the past, the group showed its true face and is now engaged in discrediting the government, sowing fear and uncertainty in the future. Who is the puppeteer of this theater?
Pachedu is financed by the US groups who meddle into internal African affairs, they are the “useful idiots” of Western neo-colonialists. When their favourite candidate Nelson Chamisa lost the elections, they pulled most of their funding, and thus, all that remains for Pachedu to do is throwing around red arrows and squares on Twitter, while hoping to please their Western donors and get more cash.
The following facts confirm the unfortunate position of Chamisa and the complete failure of his party work. The MDC’s party secretary Amos Chibaya, who served a prison sentence for organizing protests and inciting acts of mass violence, was repeatedly accused of manipulating and rigging votes. However, it is not all.
Chamisa illegally uses pictures from the mass meetings of the EFF party of neighboring South Africa, whose main color happens also happens to be red. What for? To give the impression of universal and unconditional support, and somehow justify the millions of dollars allocated to him with the generous hand of American and English donor organizations. After all, he cannot boast the real deeds. They are simply not there.
Chamisa’s attitude towards his own supporters deserves special attention. Initiated by Chamisa himself, people took to protest on the streets after the results of the presidential elections had been announced, and at least 6 participants were killed in clashes with law enforcement agents. Chamisa has nothing but state the following “It was very stupid, even, for people who demonstrated… it was stupid, because they then opened themselves for attacks and manipulation,” he told journalists. “I think whoever demonstrated – it was their right, but I feel it was not called for.” Isn’t it this very phrase that shows his absolutely devil-may-care attitude towards party work and his own supporters. This statement opens up his true nature – a person who carelessly steps over human lives and takes care only about his own well-being.
Part 2. All the opposition’s men
Let us meet Chamisa’s closest assistants who carry a history of the shady deals, do the dirty work on the black market and change the currency for their leader.
Tendai Biti is Chamisa’s right-hand man, a former finance minister, who was repeatedly accused of corruption and money laundering. As early as 2005, while working as a senior partner in a law firm, he appropriated US $ 1 million. In August 2018, Biti was deported from Zambia, where he tried to escape after charges of inciting protests in Harare, in which, according to official data, at least 6 people were killed. In September 2018, the Anti-Corruption Committee of Zimbabwe accused Biti of transferring more than US $ 30 million to banks at his recommendation by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), which soon declared bankruptcy. The committee mentioned that corruption cases involving NSSA and its National Building Society (NBS) subsidiary exceed US $ 78 million. High Commissioner Nguni noted that “Some of them externalised the money, bought houses in South Africa and we are following up on those leads.” It seems like Chamisa is a decent company. Do you think that he wasn’t allocated funds so as to build a mansion? Furthermore, in October 2018, Biti was publicly caught in a lie, claiming on Twitter that the state was involved in the murder in the central Harare, which was refuted by the former Cabinet Minister Jonathan Moyo, who posted the police investigation report on the case. This man is ready to do anything for the sake of raising his PR profile and is a dab hand at money laundering.
Dr Nkululeko Sibanda is a spokesman for Chamisa, who openly supported US sanctions. On March 3rd, following the United States’ decision to extend sanctions for another year, Sibanda tweeted “Zimbabwe sanctions from the US to go on for another year. I have never agreed with Trump on anything but this. Am sure he did it for a stupid reason, like racism, but the outcome is appreciated”.
It is not surprising, because the main sources of funding for Chamisa and his henchmen are the American funds that allocate millions of dollars for the pockets of “freedom fighters”. The likes of Sibanda primarily benefited from the weakening of the local currency and the strengthening of the dollar on the black market. And when there is money in your pocket, the financial airbag system has already been established, why not mock Trump from the safe salon of your multi-million luxury car.
The evidence that Sibanda is a link between Chamisa and the black market has come into our possession.
This photo was made by one of the profiteers who participated in the meeting with Sibanda. Here you can clearly see that Sibanda passes on a large amount of US dollars, most likely received from one of the NGOs or directly at the embassy. According to the participant who made the picture, Sibanda exchanges a large amount of US dollars to the local currency Zimbabwe Dollar once a month. The same suitcase carries a commission for the leaders of speculator groups, which amounts to 15%.
The leaders subsequently distribute US dollars in bundles of two to three thousand among their dealers, who are then offering them to the public on the black market. Thus, the demand for foreign currency is satisfied, which naturally weakens the local currency and prevents the state from trying to stabilize prices in stores, and, therefore, undermines the authority and government efforts to control inflation, which is what the opposition uses in its public statements.
Our interviewee mentioned that Sibanda is working under the Chamisa executive order, since the infusions of US dollars weaken the exchange rate of the local currency, and this is one of the conditions that Chamisa was set on the part of the American NGOs and the embassy made privately. By executing such orders, Chamisa gets hefty funding for himself and his entourage in return for his services.
Epilogue. False prophets
Now you know the truth, it is up to you now to see how to use it. Want to be part of civil society? Then be it! You have got the facts, analyze them, make up your own mind and do not blindly follow those who cannot even explain inconsistencies in their own biography, hide their assets and business from those who are waiting for transparency.
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