Simba Chikore
Simba Chikore
Simba Chikore image via Zimbuzz.co.zw
BornSimbarashe Chikore
NationalityZimbabwean
Occupation
  • Business Executive
EmployerAir Zimbabwe (former)
Known forBeing Bona Mugabe's husband
Spouse(s)Bona Mugabe
ChildrenSimbanashe Gabriel Chikore
Parent(s)Sherman Chikore (father), Christine Chikore (mother)
RelativesDerik Chikore, Ray Chikore, Risen Chikore and a sister Kudakwashe Chikore

Simba Chikore is a Zimbabwean who is married to Robert Mugabe's daughter Bona. In September 2016, he was appointed the Chief Operations Officer of Air Zimbabwe, a move that was criticised by some Zimbabweans who claimed he had landed the post because of his relationship to Robert Mugabe.

On 19 November 2017, it was reported that Chikore had resigned from his post as Air Zimbabwe COO. Chikore apparently resigned just days before the house arrest of his father in-law former President Mugabe as part of the military takeover.

Background

He is the son of ZAOGA FIF pastors Sherman Chikore and Christine Chikore and is the third born in a family of four boys and a girl. Simba Chikore has brothers Derick, Ray and Reason who are twins and a sister Kudakwashe. Chikore grew up in Kambuzuma and comes from the Chikore area in Rusape where his uncle Dennis Chikore is the chief. According to congregants interviewed by a local publication, Chikore and his siblings formed a musical outfit called 101 Harare Drive that sang brilliantly in church from an early stage in their lives where he played the keyboard.[1]

Personal Life

Simba Chikore married Bona Mugabe in February 2014 at the Mugabe private home in Harare’s plush Borrowdale neighborhood.[2] Together they have a son Simbanashe who was born in 2016.[3]

Education

Chikore attended Marlborough Primary School for his primary education where he excelled in sports mainly athletics, soccer and swimming. He then enrolled at St John’s College in Emerald Hill where he also excelled in sports during his six years of secondary education. Chikore studied sciences at Advanced Level and was the head boy when he completed his studies in 1996 before he moved to the United States for further studies.[1]

He attended but did not graduate school at Saint Louis University in St. Louis MO, USA.

Appointment at Air Zim

In an interview in April 2018, Chikore indicated that he was Supposed To Be Air Zim CEO, however former President Mugabe called the Minister before the appointment and instructed him that he could not favour Chikore,

After the assessment of maybe three or four weeks, they came back with the results and I was number one out of 134 people. Out of 134 candidates, they were trying to find the CEO, COO and the executive manager…And in his wisdom, the Honourable Minister of Transport [Joram Gumbo] assigned me to the post of COO, which was the second position…I imagine if people knew that I was supposed to be the CEO, but that is in his wisdom and we were happy because what we wanted was the expertise

One of the things that he said to the honourable minister was that you cut no corners, no favouritism but I know that he is good at what he does, so go ahead and go through the interview processes, but you will cut no corners.

That was our mandate even from the beginning. That was his way of management, but I know the honourable minister did not even need to hear that he is a very honourable man, he is a wise man and he is a professional.

[4]

Conduct At Air Zimbabwe

On 12 March 2019, The Herald reported that Zimbabwean engineers maintaining aircraft in Malaysia went for months without being paid their travel and subsistence allowances after former Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer, and later chief executive of Zimbabwe Airways, Simba Chikore, diverted funds meant to pay them for his personal use.

According to the report, Chikore allegedly pocketed money meant to pay health insurance for workers, while in another case he withheld payments of allowances to staff.

This is despite that he would have got the funds – amounting to over US$50 000 – from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. As of November 2017, the draw-downs from RBZ amounted to US$51 840 with more requested for December and January, documents in The Herald's possession showed.

The RBZ would release the money in hard currency, which would then be handed over to the spouses of the staff, who in turn would wire the funds to the workers.

However, Chikore reportedly pocketed the money on occasions and contriving excuses, leaving the workers marooned in Malaysia. The source said some of the funds were used to pay per diems for a certain minister and his aide.

The Herald reported that investigations into Chikore's conduct were underway with dockets being prepared for prosecution, after being stalled at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.[5]

Trial For Abuse Of Office & Acquittal

On 21 June 2021, Chikore had the criminal abuse of office charges he was facing dropped after Harare regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna agreed that the charges were wrong since Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited was not a public entity.

Chikore had argued that he was not a public office bearer during the time he worked for the national airliner.

In coming up with the decision, Nduna said there were Supreme Court judgments that concluded that Air Zimbabwe was not a public entity. Chikore was being represented by lawyers Jonathan Samukange and Brighton Pabwe. He was being accused of flouting tender procedures and awarding security tenders to undeserving companies during 2017.

Since Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited was not a parastatal but a private company, Chikore did not fall under the definition of a public officer required to sustain the charges. Chikore also argued that Air Zimbabwe does not need to approach the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe when it wants to purchase goods and services.

State counsel, Mr Ephraim Zinyandu, had argued that Air Zimbabwe was listed as a public entity under the second schedule of Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002 and its status was spelt out in the Public Finance and Management Act.[6]

Allegations against Chikore were that on August 3, 2017, he signed a memorandum of agreement with Safeguard Security Company for the provision of security services without following proper tender procedures. It is said Chikore signed for 10 security guards at US$16 445 per month, which was allegedly above the US$10 000 threshold for informal tenders.

According to the State, the tender required the accounting officer of a procurement entity to call for bidders through newspaper adverts and evaluation of the submitted bids. The State alleged that Chikore, knowing that he was not an accounting officer, unilaterally and single-handedly engaged the services of Safeguard Security Company without following tender procedures.[7]

Unlawful Detention Charge

On 7 June 2018, Chikore was picked up for questioning by police on allegations of kidnapping his lawyer following an argument over a labour dispute. A warned and cautioned statement was recorded from Chikore at Highlands Police Station.[8]

In June 2019, the High Court stayed proceedings in the case where Chikore, was facing charges of unlawfully detaining Zimbabwe Airways former secretary Bertha Zakeyo. The High Court stayed proceedings pending its determination in his appeal against the dismissal of his application for discharge.

Chikore was jointly charged with Simbarashe Mutimbe, who was Zimbabwe Airways’ security guard.

His lawyer, Jonathan Samukange, tendered an order from the High Court to Harare magistrate Nyasha Vitorini which stayed proceedings at the lower court awaiting the higher court’s determination on his client’s appeal against the dismissal of his application for discharge.

Samukange asked the court to postpone the matter to September 2019 saying it would not be heard this term.

Vitorini deferred the matter to September 17 2019.

In her evidence, Zakeyo claimed Chikore directed Mutimbe to bar her from leaving Zimbabwe Airways offices until she handed over her phone.[9]

On 28 February 2019, a witness developed cold feet and wrote to the State withdrawing from testifying, saying she was compromised. Phillipa Philips, who is also a lawyer, was expected to testify in the case, but asked the court to withdraw, saying both Chikore and the complainant, Bertha Zakeyo were her clients.[10]

Financial Challenges

The late former President Robert Mugabe’s daughter Bona and Simba Chikore her husband are reportedly struggling to complete the mansion they were building in Harare’s Umwinsidale Suburb. A well placed source from the Mugabe family reportedly told the News Hawks publication that the mansion that sits on 22 hectares of land is expected to gobble US$20 million for it to be completed. The late President Mugabe was reportedly financing the project for Bona and Simba Chikore before his infamous ouster by his trusted lieutenants in the November 2017 Military Coup.[11]

Pictures

Trivia

  • Three sitting heads of state among the guests at his wedding South African President Jacob Zuma attended the event along with, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Zambia’s Michael Sata.
  • He is believed to have paid $35,000 and 15 cows to President Mugabe for the Bona's hand in marriage.[2]


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Roselyne Sachiti and Sydney Kawadza, Bona, Simba: Royalty meets royalty, Herald, published: March 8, 2014, retrieved: October 5, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bona Mugabe weds her 37 years old man, NewZimbabwe.com, published: March 1, 2014, retrieved: October 5, 2016
  3. Paidamoyo, Chipunza, President’s grandson makes public debut, Herald, published: June 10, 2016, retrieved: October 5, 2016
  4. I Was Supposed To Be Air Zim CEO, Mugabe Called The Minister Before Appointment, Told Him No Favouritism – Simba, Pindula, Published: 22 April 2018, Retrieved: 23 April 2018
  5. How Chikore milked Airzim staff, The Herald, Published: March 12, 2019, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  6. Nyore Madzianike, Court frees former Airzim boss Chikore, The Herald, Published: June 22, 2021, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  7. Nyore Madzianike, Simba Chikore to apply for exception, The Herald, Published: June 21, 2021, Retrieved: June 21, 2021
  8. Simba Chikore in police custody, The Herald, Published: June 8, 2018, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  9. Prosper Dembedza, Simba Chikore case deferred to Sept 17, The Herald, Published: June 11, 2019, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  10. DESMOND CHINGARANDE, Simba Chikore case faces collapse, NewsDay, Published: March 1, 2019, Retrieved: June 22, 2021
  11. [1], Pindula News, Published: 20 March, 2021, Accessed: 21 March, 2021