Bona's husband now AirZim boss

HARARE - Struggling national airline, Air Zimbabwe (Airzim), has appointed President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore as the debt-ridden flag carrier’s chief operating officer (COO)— in a move that has reignited fresh national debate regarding the appointment of politically-connected people to powerful public sector positions.

Chikore, who is said to be a qualified pilot and is married to Mugabe’s only daughter Bona — the apple of her father’s eye — joins former Airzim captain Ripton Muzenda, a relative of the late vice president Simon Muzenda, who was recently appointed as the airline’s chief executive officer.

Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joram Gumbo, who confirmed Chikore’s appointment to the Daily News yesterday, defended the move saying the president’s son-in-law was the best man for the job.

“Yes, ... Chikore is the new chief operating officer of Air Zimbabwe. We advertised the job and the response was good. I have been given the results of the hiring process by the Bona’s husband now Airzim boss board chairman and there were seven candidates and he came tops all round.

“It was done by experts and his experience as a pilot for Air Zimbabwe and in Qatar, as well as his training in the US prevailed. He was just too good because the guy who came second was way below him in terms of points.

“I’m aware that some people will raise eyebrows, but from the results I think he deserves the job and as minister, I accept the appointment,” Gumbo said.

“It does not mean that the president’s relatives, his children or anyone associated with him cannot be employed in Zimbabwe. I’m a relative of the president but does that mean I’m not supposed to be minister?

“I hope people will not spread lies of favouritism because he truly deserves the job. He was interviewed by both outsiders and the Air Zimbabwe team,” Gumbo added.

Speaking to the Daily News earlier, Airzim chairperson Chipo Dyanda had appeared reluctant to confirm Chikore’s appointment, choosing to say that the airline now had two executives who included a COO.

“We are still in the process of recruiting new management for Air Zimbabwe and we have so far filled the position of chief operating officer and executive manager airline systems and administration.

The two new appointments began work on October 1, 2016,” Dyanda said.

But this did not stop disaffected Zanu PF bigwigs who alerted the Daily News to the appointment at the weekend to say that it raised questions about the hiring of people to influential positions in the country.

“I know that some people will say I’m saying this because I’m not in good books with the system, but this is not what we went to (the liberation) war for, where your surname, totem, who you know, are related to and sleeps with determines your station in life.

“It may well be true that mukwasha (son-in-law), muzukuru (nephew), hanzvadzi (sister) or sekuru (uncle) would be qualified to be appointed to Cabinet or to other high positions, but it is nevertheless inappropriate.

“Seeing that so many well-connected people always appear to be rewarded and accommodated by the system, it makes it difficult for one not to be concerned about corruption and nepotism, which are huge cancers in our country,” a ruling party stalwart said.

Chikore and Bona got married at a lavish wedding ceremony in Harare two years ago, and have since been blessed with a baby son.

Airzim insiders said Chikore and Muzenda have their work cut out at the struggling airline, which is said to be losing up to $3 million a month, and is saddled with a $300 million debt.

The flag carrier has also over the last three decades struggled to shake-off claims of executive corruption and ineptitude, which has led to the dismissals of several senior managers.

After the airline overlooked its former acting chief executive, Edmund Makona, when it appointed Muzenda to the position last month, he quit in a huff, with the parties later reported to have engaged in exit package negotiations.

No details about this have been released to date.

Comments (27)

we wait for results. results results results veduwee bato ririkutonga

kelly - 5 October 2016

A pilot to manage Airzim? Now we must recruit a bus driver to manage Zupco.

citizen - 5 October 2016

a deserved appointment,simba brings youth and leadership renewal to the organisation,having worked for international airlines,he will impart his knowledge and skills leading to the revival of airzim,of course the movement for dead cats will want to politisize an appointment made purely on merit

truth - 5 October 2016

Then people say Mugabe is not a dictator.

most - 5 October 2016

of course air zim was loosing money imagine how much a day whilst flying the old man and his goons maybe 30-100 people 2-3 times a week Now Zimbabweans in the diaspora were forced to use reliable flights after the failure of air zim Whatever is associated with the 1st family fails Wait and see This is also an opportune appointment so when we gain independence they have an easier way to flee

Naphiri Chisayi - 5 October 2016

Big ups to a contributer on this platform who not so long ago saw this one coming when muzenda was appointed the new airzim boss. Now we wait for the part two where son in law brings up his own personal planes into the fleet. Nepotism at its highest order.

X-MAN IV - 5 October 2016

ndochave chigumegume kudya chewafa.

josphat mugadzaweta - 5 October 2016

Engineers have run down ZESA, NRZ, ZISCO, etc., lawyers and accountants municipalities etc, banking and finance experts have run down banks and the financial sector. The only hope will come when we Africans can create industries. As for now let us keep shaking the trees until they dry up.

ADF - 5 October 2016

When Ripton Muzenda was appointed without being interviewed, I mentioned that he was a proxy for Simba Chikore. That as it has come out clearly, one wonders how stupid and dumb Zanu PF people are to be manipulated and outmanouvered by Robert Mugabe this much. Its obvious Mugabe does not care about any one else except him and his. And that senior people in party and government fall over each other to sanction this rot boddles the mind. LAFA ELIHLE KAKHULE FOR SURE!!!!!!

MR COOPER - 5 October 2016

Proms and Appointments; Believe the nation would not one day wake up to a stiff, but cruel realty,that two sons of Mugabe,Chatunga and Robert Junior, have been commissioned as officers of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe and one promoted Lieutenant General and appointed Army Commander and the other Air Marshal and appointed Air Force Commander.The current chiefs of these two branches of Defence Forces would one day retire.This view is based on the way state business is being conducted.If this is going to happen,that would mark the death of a fine fighting force and an obituary would be writen this way " Here lies a fine fighting force whose exploits could not be matched by a highly resourced fighting force in the face of limited resources.Never in the history of the African Military could one find such unwavering loyalty to the cause of the country despite limited resources and such commitment by the guys who put behind their personal interests for the country's cause.Surely they would be missed for generations to come"In other words that is to say goodby Zna and Afz.

Gen. Spinola - 5 October 2016

It is difficult to imagine an appointment full of political overtones to "turn around" an organisation. Can this guy say "no" to the abuse of aeroplanes at AirZim? I doubt it. Having "international experience" means nothing if there are no clear, documented achievements of this "experience" to assume the same will be repeated or used as cornerstones. Time will tell. Administration is not an easy area to excel in because in most cases those who do are passionate and disciplined people who have learnt "the ropes" which eliminates many who want to use shortcuts to avoid the tedious basics to jump right to the top.

Sagitarr - 5 October 2016

when does the revolution begin?

lawrence - 5 October 2016

Simba Chikore is not known by Emirates Airline nor Qatar and Eithad Airlines. So who did this man work for? If he managed to bullshit Mugabe Family, why should he allowed to bullshit the whole of Zimbabwe in form of entering Air Zim without genuine qualifications. Now RG Mugabe has managed to ruin Zimbabwe in flying colors! I like somebody who said it is now Simba bwe Airlines.

Mbareboy - 5 October 2016

Simbabwe Air lines KKKKKKKKK

Mbareboy - 5 October 2016

More importantly how much are we (taxpayers) paying this fool?

mukwerekwere - 6 October 2016

I will not comment on this appointment. Neither will I comment on the number of farms given to the Chikore family, the Zesa Dema tender and other goings on for I cannot do so without damaging the standing of a President I love very much

Marijuana - 6 October 2016

You ordinary povo surprises me, your inlaws manage you kombis, so my own son-in law is doing exactly the same, Airzim ndo kombi ye first family. He ane experience yeku kama mombe ku Gushungo diary. ko kutyei munhu anokwira first daughter. Pamberi nekutonga. Pasi ne povo. DHAKISI achaisawo wake kuNRZ kana azopindawo

john - 6 October 2016

Zvichapera hazvo. Ko iye Bona ambori mwana waMugabe here. Isu tinoziva kuti akaroora Grace aine vana vake akazoita Chatunga.

Chido - 6 October 2016

Mugabe is creating his path easier to flee after 2018.or at anytime as he is smelling a rat and suspicious political unrest in Zimbabwe.keep an eye this is true

majangara majangara - 6 October 2016

some people are starving while ZANU of bigwiggs are creating employments for their relatives.so many educated people with similar education quality but they are vendors in the streets no body cares for them .but Mugabe 's in law are feasting grabbing land as if they are Zimbabwean Gods.

majangara majangara - 6 October 2016

Zimbabwe is Mugabe Dynasty - kuita corruption in public - that can be seen by children who havent started pre-school.

hokoyo - 6 October 2016

Please check your facts. Ripton is not related to the late VP Muzenda. On that score at least you can be fair to the man

Baruch - 6 October 2016

Simba might have good credentials but the mere fact that he is Bob's son in law immediately raises eyebrows in much the same way as Dr Grace's Doctorate still does. Just about everything to do with our ailing President is now questionable? For instance his black empowerment schemes might be good in name but absolutely disastrous for business, our whole economy and something that has led to massive unemployment? All we can do is hope that our people are watching this man John Magufuli, President of Tanzania's performance and his very brave stance on corruption. This is the quality of leader our country now so desperately needs. but it can't and won't happen with Mugabe in power, this I can assure you.

Mbewa - 6 October 2016

musaita funny funny nevanhu

ba kuku - 6 October 2016

no wonder we are where we are kikikiki Zimbabwe where else can this happen well done President Robert Mugabe murikugona gushungo Mwari ndewedu tose.

critic - 6 October 2016

All public offices should include a cv to be viewed publicly and verified by independent auditors because these are after all public matters. so we need to see qualifications of all in public offices. Chinombonzi merit chii nhai

critic - 6 October 2016

Kuita nyika yemumba menyu shuwa. ...kutiita zvituta chaizvo. ..time will tell

claris dee - 6 October 2016

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