Key Questions answered about corruption in Africa (Zimbabwe), factional politics and the powerful cartel (Oligarchy) controlling Diamond, Gold, Fuel, Grain (Command Agriculture), Basic Commodities and Foreign Currency trading. 1. Who is Queen Bee?-Queen Bee is colloquial name for the most powerful oligarchy/cartel in Zimbabwe. The group is heavily connected to senior politicians, the army, intelligence, the judiciary, permanent secretaries and directors in government, commercial parastatals including RBZ, MMCZ, NOCZIM, ZIMRA & ZESA. It has links at AFREXIMBANK too. The cartel controls imports of foreign currency and its allocation by RBZ. It controls imports of key commodities such as Fuel, Wheat & Maize and their subsequent distribution in Zimbabwe. It also controls Gold and Diamond marketing. 2. Who is in this cartel or oligarchy?-The most powerful bosses in the cartel are Chiwenga, John Bredenkamp and Billy Reutenbach. Their front man is Kuda Tagwirei. Silent partners include Simon Rudland, Obert Mpofu, Nic Van Hoogstraten, Happyton Bonyongwe,Ozias Bvute, Supa Mandiwanzira, Joram Gumbo, SB Moyo, Perrence Shiri, Elson Moyo and Anselem Sanyatwe. Other prominent members include Frank Buyanga,John Mangudya, Mirirai Chiremba, Norman Mataruka, Gresham Muradzikwa, Azvinandava Saburi, Genius Kadungure, Wicknel Chivhayo, Aaron Chinhara (Glow Petroleum), Farai Munyawarara (Kreamorn Investments),Phillip Chiyangwa, Derrick Chikore, Francis Gudyanga, Willard Manungo & Tafadzwa Musarara (Grain Millers). Lebanese, Indian, Chinese & Israeli Business moguls in Zimbabwe are also involved through mineral exports. 3. When did this cartel start?-The origins of this powerful cartel dates as far back as 1998 when Zimbabwe intervened in the DRC War. The rationale behind the intervention was to shield Diamond & Cobalt Mines controlled by the cartel front man John Bredenkamp & Billy Reutenbach. The rich white moguls roped in Vitalis Zvinavashe, Emerson Mnangagwa, Solomon Mujuru, Constantine Chiwenga, Perrence Shiri and SB Moyo among others giving them contracts to supply goods and services to the Zimbabwean Army during the war. Mugabe too was in the grouping for personal reasons. From that time, the army has played a key role in the Zimbabwean economy in transport, mining, arms deals, foreign currency, loans and connections to foreign investors. Their hand was strengthened when they saved Mugabe after losing to Tsvangirai in the 2008 elections. The cartel pushed behind the scenes to get their men in key positions in government, parastatals, cabinet and intelligence gradually becoming influential. The army became a ZANU PF extension and coined the phrase, “Chinhu Chedu” meaning a self-enrichment system of power and business deals. 4. Who was behind the November 2017 Coup?-The power behind the coup was not ED but this cartel including prominent business tycoons (white & black) fronted by Chiwenga, SB Moyo, P. Shiri & Elson Moyo. They could not have one of their own to take over as it would show the world that it was a real coup de tat so they chose Emerson Mnangagwa (civilian face) to lead the country. The coup was planned as far back as 2004 through ZANU PF structures, then 2007 through the Presidential Guard and after Mugabe unilaterally merged diamonds in Chiadzwa through Minister Chidhakwa (His cousin) in 2015. The cartel tried to get Mugabe to hand over power to ED in return for business deals. Their plans were thrown off the rail when Mugabe went after Bredenkamp in 2007 on flimsy passport charges. The nail was hit when Mugabe sent intelligence to kill Chiwenga in September 2017. When it failed, Mugabe fired ED from government and planned to fire Chiwenga as Army General after his China trip. The coup was initiated as the last resort to save the oligarchy. Furthermore Mugabe had shown no signs over time of giving power to their man (ED). Intelligence showed Mugabe wanted to hand over power to Sydney Sekeramayi who was to be deputized by Grace and Mphoko. The balance of power was shifting towards Grace and a few loyalists close to Mugabe and his family who were deemed hostile to the cartel’s business ideology in Diamond Mining, Gold and Fuel. The group composed of young Turks in ZANU PF who were starting to get favourable treatment from Mugabe at the expense of the cartel. The cartel tried to recruit Grace but realized Mugabe had spies around her because of her infidelity past. They sponsored various trips to China and other intelligence meetings behind the doors among other donations to ZANU PF. The cartel was shocked after Mugabe fired ED in a show of force and it pushed Chiwenga to voice their displeasure to Mugabe. The ZANU PF central committee was captured to push for impeachment in case Mugabe did not resign. The cartel used public anger for Mugabe to push people in the streets of Harare in support of their cause. They had found a common goal with opposition leaders too. That is why the coup was quickly sanitized. 5. Why did they not kill Mugabe?-They could not kill Mugabe as it would show the world it was a power grab. Moreover the information could leak on their identity as Mugabe had a lot of loyalists within the ZANU PF party, in government, intelligence and internationally. ED however, promised to reach out to Mugabe for them and ensure peace. 6. Is ED in control of the country?-Like Mugabe who lost elections in 2008 but was kept in power by the military in 2008. ED is under the influence of this cartel because they funded over $300 million to sponsor his campaign in the July 2018 elections. He is their product promoted to lead the country and he was involved in their deals through command agriculture as VP in 2016-17. He was further weakened after losing the July elections where again the cartel reversed the popular vote in his favour for their business interests. 7. Why is ED failing to control price increases, fight corruption or push for reforms?-The cartel that installed him as president survives on tenders and underhand deals with Parastatals in a closed economy. Any transparency or audit into government deals cuts off their revenue supply. Price increases are a show of power that the cartel controls the economy and can sabotage ED’s plan for economic growth. Reforms being pushed by Mthuli Ncube such as 2% tax, civil service and government expenditure cuts including command agriculture will be shot down because the cartel is still to cash in on its 2018 elections donations. Mthuli is supposed to be alienated in his policy thrust or be captured slowly, if he resists capture the cartel will push for his resignation from cabinet on corruption charges. 8. Why is Mutsvangwa exposing Kuda Tagwirei and the cartel?-Mutsvangwa felt that ED was pushed not to support him publicly in the Norton elections. He realized the cartel had a hand in his loss to Mliswa. However Mutsvangwa is fronting for a company from South Africa called MOGS which intends to build a Fuel pipeline linking Botswana and Mozambique through Harare which has the capacity to carry 5 times more fuel than the Trafigura/NOCZIM pipeline. It’s a personal fight. He is the brains behind Lumumba leaks 9. Why was Mutsvangwa not appointed Minister?-The cartel knew of his MOU with MOGS, his dislike for Chiwenga and abrasive behavior through the War Vets. Hence they pushed ED not to appoint him in cabinet. The push came through Mupamhanga and Charamba (Cartel inside men in ED’s office). ED reasoned with Mutsvangwa and appointed his wife instead to appease his former advisor. 10. Who is controlling government right now?-Chiwenga is the man running the show in government for the cartel since his appointment. They want him to take over as president in 2023, then hand over to SB Moyo in 2028. They have a succession plan for any eventuality even impeachment for ED or death. 11. Why did ED invite observers despite Army warnings that he would lose the elections?-ED wanted to create a centre of power around himself and a few of his loyalists who were chased from ZANU PF by Mugabe. He too wanted to get rich but without outside influence as he had seen on Mugabe. He wanted credibility and control as his own man to break away from the past. His plan was to invite technocrats and skilled Zimbabweans in Diaspora to run government so as to open lines of credit and investment. His plan fell after he lost to Nelson Chamisa in the July 30 elections. 12. How did the cartel capture ZEC & the judiciary?-At 3am on July 31, army intelligence had gathered through Provincial Presiding Officers that Chamisa of MDC had crossed the 2 million mark and was set to win by at least 56% of the presidential vote according to ZEC voter turnout figures. The cartel met and discussed plans with Chiwenga. It was agreed that it was easier to get ED in and eliminate him midway through his term than to get opposition in power. Chiwenga ordered ZEC to stop displaying V11 forms outside polling stations for all strategic constituencies deemed ZANU PF strongholds and those remaining polling stations which were over 25% of the total polling stations of the election. The army took over ZEC by threatening Chigumba and falsifying V11 forms. The cartel then offered huge perks to at least 5 judges of the Constitutional court who sat on the case bench to get ED sworn in. 13. Did ED want a GNU?-After losing the elections, ED was briefed by PV Sibanda that it was ideal to get in a GNU as the public favoured it. He warned ED of the power behind Chiwenga and his motives. The plan would involve negotiations with opposition figures which PV Sibanda was willing to do. ED advisers in the OPC also warmed up to the idea as it guaranteed them safety. The cartel rejected this idea outright and threatened PV Sibanda. 14. Who was behind the White City bombing?-The cartel felt that ED was sabotaging them by inviting international observers to an election he was likely to loose. He was also crushing Chiwenga on various pronouncements which included the firing of CIOs loyal to Mugabe, Police chiefs and allowing opposition a free reign in campaigning. They felt ED was becoming too soft to a dangerous opposition and poverty stricken public which would create room for an uprising similar to the Arab events. The decoy was to apportion blame to Grace Mugabe or G40 remnants. It was an inside job to injure or eliminate ED and Mohadi. 15. How did ED sideline some cartel members or dump them in the new cabinet?-The cartel had long suspected that some of its beneficiaries and members were spying to Mugabe against Chiwenga and ED. They quietly pushed ED to wield the axe on a few figures including Mandiwanzira and Mpofu but these would get ministerial packages, contracts and business through the cartel as they would in government even if deployed to ZANU offices. However the cartel crossed swords with ED after the failed to give posts to its members who were on Chiwenga’s list of cabinet candidates. The list included the likes of Bvute (Local government), Chiwenga (on Defense), Rugeje (Transport) and Tagwirei (On energy) among other retired generals. ED flexed his muscle and appointed his friends from Lacoste era who helped him fight in ZANU PF during tough times such as July Moyo, Biggie Matiza, Mohadi, Muchinguri & Matemadanda. This was to the displeasure of the cartel and it warned him of serious consequences economically and socially. ED had to improve his security detail and is living on the knife edge fearing from his life while trying to save the economy from collapsing under his watch. The rift was widened by the revelations that ED wanted Chiwenga dead despite the fact that he saved ED during elections. The Lumumba leaks were the tip of the iceberg to the power and business politics in Zimbabwe. So it’s game on while the Povo suffers!!!!