CHIREDZI– Chiredzi North Member of Parliament
(MP) Roy Bhila has unwittingly exposed Zanu PF’s capture of state enterprises
through a leaked conversation with the local Cotton Company of Zimbabwe
(Cottco) business manager Innocent Gukwe whom he was arm-twisting to cancel a
tender won by a purported MDC member.
Bhila could be heard on the other end
of the conversation threatening Gukwe that he risked been fired if he did not
reverse the tender for a 31-seater Plaxton Mercedes Benz omnibus awarded to
The tender required the omnibus to
ferry Cottco staff members to and from work.
The bus is alleged to be owned by John
Manganye, who contested in the 2018 harmonised elections in Chiredzi West against
the incumbent Zanu PF’s Farai Musikavanhu, as an independent candidate.
Bhila refused to entertain questions
when TellZim News sought him out for a comment on the leaked conversation.
The leaked conversation involves a
member of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) based in Chiredzi who
also piled pressure on Gukwe, who at first tried to stand his ground but later
on succumbed under political pressure.
Some names of government officials
including cabinet ministers were thrown around to intimidate Gukwe who
eventually buckled saying he would deal with the issue.
“I am saying withdraw that contract
with immediate effect. That bus belongs to an MDC Alliance member. Ministers
are coming here on the 23rd of April and the issue is going to be
briefed to those ministers.
“The owner of the bus is the one who
battled it out with Farai Musikavanhu in 2018 and Musikavanhu is saying he is
going to complain about the issue when briefing the minister.
“Leave that case otherwise you will be
in soup when it is discovered that you are giving money to an MDC member for
his next campaign. You have to make your way out on this issue,” charged Bhila
on one side of the conversation.
Gukwe tried to defend himself, saying
the company does not look into people’s political backgrounds when giving
tenders. He then tried to shift the blame to one of his colleague only
identified as Zimunya.
“No, we did not even know that the omnibus
belonged to an MDC Alliance member. We do not look into people’s political
backgrounds when awarding tenders.
“We thought it was just another local
business person. We are now following your decisions on the case because
Dingane Ncube (CIO) once came to me with the issue and said he was going to
advise me on how to handle the issue,” said Gukwe in his defence.
However, Bhila would have none of it,
reiterating that a delegation of cabinet ministers and government officials
which was in Chiredzi on April 23 would not take the matter lightly.
The cabinet delegation was led by
Agriculture minister Dr Anxious Masuka.
“I am saying cancel that tender,” said
Bhila before handing the phone to one Soul Nyangoni believed to be from the
Nyangoni said that someone was going to
lose his job if they did not cancel the tender and strongly warned Gukwe to
“You just have to follow the advice you
have been given by Bhila and we are managing the issue from our office. Zimunya
is always crossing roads with us and he is about to lose his job now,” said
TellZim News tracked the registered
owner of the bus, Israel Muchini, who said he was shocked to hear that his
tender has been revoked and his bus removed from the contracted list.
“I was surprised to be told that they
are withdrawing my omnibus from the contract because it is owned by an MDC
Alliance member. It is unfair. Why would they want to politicise everything?
Tenders should be awarded in a non-partisan manner,” said Muchini.
The supposed owner of the bus, Manganye
who is based in the United Kingdom, has been spear heading development in
He once donated a UK make Mercedes Benz
ambulance, water tanks and hospital beds at Chiredzi Poly Clinic which were
officially commissioned by Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs
and Devolution, Ezra Chadzamira.