Mnangagwa Watches as Wicknell Dolls Out Million-Dollar Favor to Ally
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Mnangagwa Watches as Wicknell Dolls Out Million-Dollar Favor to Ally

CONTROVERSIAL businessman, Wicknell Chivayo has taken his extravagance side-show to another level, donating a whooping US$1million to the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Mbungo led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s top ally.

The supposedly philanthropic gesture has left observers speculating that this could be rewarding the church’s leader, Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, for rallying his multitudes of followers to vote for Mnangagwa in the August 2023 elections, which he narrowly won against then Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate, Nelson Chamisa.

The bishop told delegates attending the ZCC Easter Passover held at the church’s iconic shrine in Bikita, Masvingo that Chivayo had gifted him US$1million.

“There is this young businessman, Chivayo, who is doing great works. He donated some money to our church. It is a six-zero figure, US$1 million. We are quite happy as a church and that is a show of love and kindness,” said the cleric.

Chivayo, whose source of wealth has remained a mystery, has in recent months blessed social media influencers and popular musicians who perform at Zanu PF events, with top-of-the-range vehicles and cellphones ahead of Mnangagwa’s third-term campaign bid, which is said to be brewing.

Viewed not as his own man, but as an emissary of the First Family in all the flamboyant donations, Chivayo on Easter Sunday gifted $US1million to ZCC ostensibly for its projects to help communities with clean water, schools, clinics and worship places.

Mutendi, who turn 85 this year, has become a prominent figure during State functions where he has given devotions. He is a very close Mnangagwa ally, whom the octogenarian Zanu PF politician regards as his “spiritualist.”

Addressing an estimated 150 000-strong crowd, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe provides for freedom of worship and churches are a strategic partner in nation building.

“We remain with great hope and confidence that we have a brighter and more prosperous future. There is light at the end of the tunnel

“My government appreciates these and other contributions made by the church to the various sectors of our economy. I assure you of our continued support, in this respect,” Mnangagwa said.

Th church has ventured into establishing multiple primary and secondary schools, including special needs education and adult literacy programmes. Additionally, a scholarship was set up to support orphans and vulnerable children’s education from primary to university levels.

Beyond Zimbabwe, the ZCC extended its reach, establishing regional and overseas parishes, particularly in the UK, USA, Canada, and other European countries.

Mnangagwa lamented over the current El Nino induced drought which will leave many households vulnerable and food insufficient.

“This year, many of our people will not harvest much because our crops were badly affected by the drought due to climate change. However, our trust remains in Almighty God. It is written in Psalms 36 verse 6 that Jehovah God preserves both people and animals’.

“On its part, our Zanu PF government has put in place measures to ensure that food and drought relief for affected communities, is availed in time. Noone will starve from hunger. Tinovimba (We trust in) Jehovah,” he added.

Pilgrims that attended the grand occasion were drawn from more than 18 countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Eswatini, Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, Uganda and Ethiopia.

ZCC has grown to a membership of more than 250,000, and is believed to have grown four times larger today, and is one of the largest religious organisations in the country, the reason why Zanu PF wants to associate with it.

Mutendi’s relationship with the ruling elite is also seen as a smokescreen to shield himself from possible investigation over his involvement in the 2007 Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Farm Mechanisation Scheme in which the clergyman was a beneficiary.

As a member of “The Clergy” thematic group, Mutendi reportedly received substantial loans totalling US$586,600, raising questions regarding his financial dealings.

Having taken over leadership of ZCC at the age of 37 in 1977, following his father Samuel’s passing, Nehemiah transitioned from teaching to become bishop and now his cosying up with Zanu PF politicians accused of gross human rights violations is raising more questions than answers over his religious stance and what he serves.


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