Corruption and the gold mafia

Zimbabweans, and hopefully the world, are trying to get their heads around last night’s first Al Jazeera broadcast on our region’s gold mafia.
On social media, heads are spinning this morning. The facts and figures still need to be digested but the overall picture is clear. We are at the mercy of corrupt leaders, aided and abetted by equally corrupt business tycoons, of Asian origin and blacks and whites.

My satellite TV was blocked out by a heavy rainstorm – or was it the gizmos delivered by our Chinese and Israeli ‘brothers’? Most other channels were working. I watched it on YouTube 

It’s important to see it.  Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono hosted a valuable Twitter Spaces discussion afterwards where contributors expressed frustration over what to do next. 

The central issue to our suffering is the stranglehold of corruption, said one. Going to vote later this year won’t work, said another. The ballot will be manipulated. Everyone is outraged but will they vote?  Getting from Point A to Point B, a better place, takes time …

When you watch yesterday’s first of the four-part documentary series, the role of self-proclaimed prophet and man-of-God Uebert Angel will blow you out of your chair. 

Right there, he is setting up a massive illegal gold and money laundering deal. The  young white man by his side is said to be his British private secretary.

Uebert, a duel British and Zimbabwe national, has been officially given diplomatic status and calls himself a ‘plenipotentiary’ (ambassador at large) of the Zimbabwe ZANU PF party government of ever scarf wearing President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Uebert says he puts diplomatic tags on his luggage and no-one dares open it. 

On air, he phones Henrietta Rushwaya – yes, she of the six KGs of gold at the airport – to set up a massive new deal. 

Much of what we already know is confirmed by Al Jazeera’s investigators and their scrutiny of thousands of confidential documents. 

We know there are no drugs or equipment in the hospitals, people are dying from preventable causes, in the past five years stolen money could have built some 9,000 kilometers of new roads and repair old crumbling, potholed ones.The six main referral hospitals, crippled now, were built in the colonial era nearly 50 years ago.

The technicalities of gold smuggling and washing millions and millions of American dollars and into whose pocket they go are a true eye opener.

As usual, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Nothing that I could see that indicates editing cuts to account for the month-long delay in the transmission. 

But printed denials of wrongdoing are shown at the end, one from Mr Big Simon Rudland, kingpin in the tobacco world. I still smoke but never his vanity brand Rudland & George. Corruption in tobacco is another story altogether.

Nor do we see in this episode Ewan Macmillan calling Zimbabwe Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga a ‘dunderhead’ as seen in the trailers and leaks. Perhaps that is something to look forward to in the next broadcasts.

The Macmillan family is well known here for nefarious gold dealing and Ewan admits on Al Jazeera doing jail time for it in the past.

In Zimbabwe it is an offense to insult the presidency. Will Macmillan see the cells again for impugning Chiwenga’s intelligence. I doubt it. There is too much money at stake. 




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