Malawi’s former leader gained from Zimbabwe farm scheme — report | Land Portal
Lenin Ndebele
Language of the news reported: 

Zimbabwe gave Malawi's late former president Bingu wa Mutharika a $124,111 (about R2,1m) “gift” in 2007 through the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

This is according to an exposé by Alex Magaisa, a law professor at the University of Kent  on Zimbabwe’s controversial farm mechanisation programme. The programme's $200m debt is being borne by taxpayers.

“No beneficiary of the farm mechanisation programme ever refused to pay for the equipment they got, neither were they asked to pay,” former RBZ governor Gideon Gono said in a statement clarifying how politicians, military men and some church leaders benefitted from the fund.

Wa Mutharika was president of Malawi from May 2004 until his death in April 2012. His wife, Ethel Zvauya Mutharika (died 2007), was Zimbabwean and through her the family owned a farm in Zimbabwe.

Magaisa, on his blog the Big Saturday Read, said: “It’s one thing that a foreign leader got a loan from a national scheme, but an entirely different and more scandalous matter that he failed to repay his debt, which was then offloaded onto the shoulders of poor Zimbabwean taxpayers.”

The list of beneficiaries include current Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who got $411,728 (about R7m).

Some members of his family received amounts ranging between $100,000 and $200,000.

There are projects linked to late former president Robert Mugabe that also benefited from the programme.

In an interview with the state-run Sunday Mail, Gono said the quasi-fiscal programme was undertaken “in the national interest” because he was “at the centre of trying to keep the economy going.”

Zimbabweans have taken to twitter under #PayBackTheMoney, tagging people who are listed as beneficiaries of the programme.

Deputy secretary to the president, George Charamba, said there was nothing amiss because governments the world over embark on similar programmes.

However, MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the government was warned as early as 2013 that such loans were a bad idea.

“As early as 2013, the comptroller and auditor-general raised the alarm that the government would fail to recover money loaned to farmers using funds from a $200m Chinese loan. It's plain rude for Gono to pretend this didn't happen,” she said.

Critics said Zimbabwe’s land reform was chaotic because it was a political tool used by Zanu-PF instead of a viable means to revolutionise the agrarian sector.


Copyright © Source (mentioned above). All rights reserved. The Land Portal distributes materials without the copyright owner’s permission based on the “fair use” doctrine of copyright, meaning that we post news articles for non-commercial, informative purposes. If you are the owner of the article or report and would like it to be removed, please contact us at and we will remove the posting immediately.

Various news items related to land governance are posted on the Land Portal every day by the Land Portal users, from various sources, such as news organizations and other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. The copyright lies with the source of the article; the Land Portal Foundation does not have the legal right to edit or correct the article, nor does the Foundation endorse its content. To make corrections or ask for permission to republish or other authorized use of this material, please contact the copyright holder.

Share this page