Zim Airways circus continues

HARARE - The circus behind the country’s new national airline, Zimbabwe Airways, has reached fever-pitch with the government now moving to remove former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s initials from one of the company’s planes.

Transport minister Joram Gumbo said the initials were causing confusion, hence the latest decision to remove them.

There was outrage in March this year when one of Zimbabwe Airways planes landed in Harare from Malaysia where it was purchased with the inscription RGM, prompting social media frenzy that Mugabe had personalised the airline — whose shareholding structure then was opaque.

“It was out of excitement then, when there was president Robert Gabriel Mugabe, vice president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and vice president Phelekezela Mphoko,” Gumbo said this week in Parliament while exonerating himself from the mess.

“This was not done by me but because these guys name their planes Mosi-a-Tunya, Mbuya Nehanda and so on, instead of doing that, my staff put on the belly of one plane RGM, another one EDM and the other one RPM and I am going to rub all those things because they are causing confusion,” he said.

The Zanu PF legislator, who is also related to the disposed former leader and his son-in-law Simba Chikore — who was at the centre of the controversial planes that were secured for $70 million, admitted feeling the heat of the new company.

“Yes they are causing confusion to many people. It is not the registration numbers of the planes but I think my staff was excited and they put the names of the president and his two vice presidents.

“I can take responsibility of the mistake that was done by my staff but I think it was out of excitement and may be a very silly excitement. I am going to remove that,” he said.

Gumbo further indicated that government, which is the sole shareholder in Zimbabwe Airways, took a deliberate stance to mislead the nation about the company’s shareholding structure as a way of avoiding attachments of the planes by creditors.

“…We then got advice that to make sure that the planes would not be impounded, we had to cancel off the agreement that we had entered into as Air Zimbabwe and come up with another name.

“That is when we revisited the paper work and used the government registered company namely Zimbabwe Airways in order to circumvent this problem.

“That is how we did it and whether we were foolish in doing so, I cannot say but we thought we were clever enough to secure and safeguard your money because part of the cost was already paid under Air Zimbabwe. We changed everything and that is why the State Procurement Board were saying we must also change the papers and put it under Air Zimbabwe which we said until these things are resolved, we will continue with that at the back of our mind.

“That is why we did that…in-order to make sure that we protected ourselves. That is when we also came up with the story that the Diasporans were buying the aircraft.

“That is why I said we now have to explain exactly why we did that. It was only to save our situation otherwise we could have lost the money as the country and government,” he added.

— The Financial Gazette

Comments (2)

Also remove RGM name from Harare International Airport name - nobody asked me if i was happy to have the old thief's name on the airport - he was not a Mandela or Tambo - he was a half Malawian

ace mukadota - 13 May 2018

Now that chidhoma Bob is history Gumbo please remove his name from Harare Airport. Its a cuirse to the airport: it haunts visitors and all diasporans intending to come back home.

Masamba Akareyo -Tanganda - 13 May 2018

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