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Sir Wicknell Chivayo arrested



Wicknell Chivayo

Wicknell Chivayo has been arrested over the Gwanda Solar Power Project. Chivayo received a US$5 million advance from the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)

Sir Wicknell was yesterday picked up by police detectives for questioning in relation to his dodgy business deals.

An elite corruption-busting unit, the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI), has been on Wicknell Chivayo’s case since December last year.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed Wicknell Chivayo’s arrest yesterday.

“I do not have all the details at the moment, but I can confirm that he has been arrested and is currently assisting police with investigations. I will give you the full details when I get them,” she said.

The Zimbabwe Independent has established that Wicknell Chivayo’s company, Intratrek, will not continue with the project following the expiry of the contract as ZPC is not satisfied with how he used US$5 million meant for payment for pre-commencement work.

Last month, Chivayo wrote to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Energy minister Simon Khaya Moyo seeking political intervention so he could be allowed to continue with the project.

The government responded by giving Wicknell Chivayo the green light to access US$52 million payment in order to continue with the doomed solar power project envisaged to feed 100 megawatts to the national grid and help ease the country’s power woes.

Chivayo blamed ZPC for lack of progress on the project but ZPC — a division of power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Holdings — is sticking to its guns and says it will not release any further funds to Wicknell Chivayo.

Energy ministry permanent secretary Partson Mbiriri also confirmed the development this week, saying the contract that bound the two parties was no longer of any force or effect.

He said in addition to the expiry of the contract, funders had blacklisted Chivayo’s Chinese business partner, CHiNT Electric, implying avenues have been shut.

This puts Intratrek’s partners in a highly unenviable position as no other company could deal with them in the future, Mbiriri said.

“The fact of the matter is that ZPC has written to Intratrek indicating that the contract on the Gwanda Solar Power Project has lapsed and there are of course implications when a contract has lapsed,” Mbiriri said, adding ZPC had not made any moves to renew the contract.

He also said Chivayo, in a recent correspondence to the government, had not mentioned anything about the renewal of the contract.

“There is no mention of ZPC wanting to extend or renew the contract.

They have simply indicated that the contract has lapsed and that is where we are.”

Mbiriri revealed that the questionable dealings between Intratrek and ChiNT have also had repercussions on ChiNT’s standing in the eyes of the African Development Bank (AfDB) which had been the major source of funding for the project.

“At the same time, the AfDB, a very important financial institution (in financing Zimbabwe-related infrastructural development projects) has blacklisted ChiNT.

ChiNT is the technical partner of Intratrek. When a company is blacklisted by World Bank, IFC, AfDB, you can only do business with that company at your own risk. This is very critical to note,” Mbiriri added.

In his letter, Chivayo tried to request a meeting with Mnangagwa, hoping to convince him the project still had a life.

“Based on that, Intratrek has been lobbying and literally writing to every office wanting to meet those that matter and are influential, and at the same time has been conveying messages about itself and its capabilities.

“The fact of the matter is the funds that are being referred to (as funds meant for the project) have been funds where Intratrek has been asking ZPC to pay and that tells you the extent of the situation that this deal is in.

There have been contradictory messages on the project, it’s funding and its progress, and we need to be wary of what we are told is obtaining with regard to this solar project,” he added.

In the wake of the scandal, Moyo has since ordered ZPC to review its procurement processes and manage all its contracts to close gaps for some unscrupulous individuals in the company.

He told the ZPC board and management during its Integrated Management System certification ceremony recently that government had its eyes on the company and instructed the entity to follow procurement rules.

He added that the level of tender-flouting scandals in the entity was overshadowing a “very functional entity”.

“ZPC has had some form of embarrassing moments. Today is not the day to talk about these, but clearly, ZPC must improve on its procurement and management of all contracts, even the small ones.

“ZPC must follow to the letter all procurement regulatory requirements and manage all, I mean all, contracts diligently.

That way, there will be no embarrassing moments on what is generally a functional statute enterprise. It’s a very functional state enterprise,” he said.

Moyo said corrupt individuals in the company were tarnishing the entire organisation.

“In a home where there are seven siblings who are all at school and there is only one thief in that home, people say that in that home there are thieves.

They ignore all the good ones and focus on the bad one. So let’s avoid a single person tarnishing our image,” he said.
The Independent


Mnangagwa appoints army General Sibanda into the Zanu PF politburo



Philip Valerio Sibanda ZaNU PF

President Emerson Mnangagwa has appointed General Philip Valerie Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to the Zanu PF politburo, in violation of the national constitution.

During a Zanu PF conference in Gweru on Saturday, Mnangagwa announced that the country’s top-ranking soldier would become an ex officio member of the party’s highest decision-making body in between congresses. Mnangagwa, who benefited from a 2017 military coup, made this announcement during his closing remarks.

“During the course of the year, we lost one of our party stalwarts, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga who was the Secretary for People with Disabilities.

Philip Sibanda’s appointment is a violation of the national constitution which says “The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this constitution.”

While Zimbabwe’s military is known for being embedded with ruling party politics, Sibanda’s appointment is an unprecedented case of a serving soldier taking a leadership position within a political party.

The Zanu PF-led authority has ironically hounded out of service, a lot of officers within the country’s unformed forces for associating themselves with the opposition, which protests continued military involvement in Zanu PF campaigns.

The appointment of Philip Sibanda could come as an attempt by the under-fire leader to hedge himself against a possible coup with the military ever interested in who should be in the country.

The controversial appointment could also fall within the willy politician’s paraphernalia of self-serving schemes amid subtle signals of an ambition to go for a third term.

Zimbabwe has a dirty history of military interference in the country’s political affairs.

During past election periods, partisan military commanders have vowed never to “salute” an opposition leader emerging from the country’s polls in an indirect threat to block the ascension into power of any winner of the presidential election who is not Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa could also be preparing Philip Sibanda for a post in the Zanu PF presidium.

Last year, exiled former cabinet minister and politburo member Jonathan Moyo revealed Mnangagwa was keen to name Sibanda as his second vice president.

Sibanda is among former liberation war fighters drafted into the country’s military upon independence after having waged the war as a ZIPRA combatant.

ZIPRA was the military wing of the former PF Zapu, a liberation war movement that fought side by side with Zanu PF for the attainment of independence.

The current co-vice president, also a former PF Zapu politician, is battling poor health.

Mohadi collapsed a week ago while addressing a Zanu PF rally called to drum up support for a Gutu party election candidate.

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Zimbabwe Care Workers Fleeced Thousands of Pounds in COS Visa Scandal




Certificate of Sponsorship Scandal Sees Zimbabwe Care Workers Pay up to  £8k for Visa

Care workers recruited from Zimbabwe are being trapped in the UK. They are forced to pay large debts to recruitment agencies before they can start working. Once they start working, they are paid very little and are often forced to work long hours without breaks. This has led to a situation where these care workers are being exploited and treated unfairly. It has been discovered that Zimbabwean care workers who come to the UK to start their careers are getting scammed and exploited by middlemen. These workers are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous middlemen who trick them into coming to the UK and then withholding up to 50% of their wages, forcing them to live in squalor.

Due to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, many trained care professionals are seeking employment overseas. However, many agencies, which are often run by Zimbabweans in the UK and are unregulated, are exploiting these workers. Zimbabwean nurses have been working in Britain for years, but hiring care workers is a new trend. Experts say that an ecosystem of manipulation has been built around this phenomenon, which is highly exploitative. One way to move to the UK is to complete a Red Cross care worker certification program, which is highly sought after. However, locals say that middlemen exploit the certificate of sponsorship (COS) by charging high fees.

Terrence Macheka, a trainee nurse, plans to emigrate to the UK when he graduates, and he says that his wife was scammed by agents who charged $380 to put her on the training waiting list, despite the official Red Cross certification fee being only $300. Closed WhatsApp groups show that these agents then ask care workers to pay up to £5,000 to be linked with UK-based care agencies. This has created a web of corruption, where UK-based care agencies run by Zimbabwe nationals give the COS to their relatives and friends first, while others have to pay hefty fees that reach £4,000. Some charge as high as £7,000, which is against British law. 

The UK law is clear that a recruitment agency cannot charge a fee for ‘placing’ an employee, and the person who ‘assigns’ or prepares and allocates the COS cannot be related to the prospective employee. However, regulation of these agencies is weak, and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) suggests that their hands are tied because these actors are not under UK jurisdiction. DHSC says that some organisations may use repayment clauses to recoup upfront costs if internationally recruited staff do not meet the terms of their contract, which is acceptable. Still, it would be concerning if the repayment costs were disproportionate or punitive.

According to experts, various schemes are taking advantage of the chronic staffing issues faced by the UK’s social and healthcare systems. The NHS alone has to fill 40,000 nursing positions, which has led to a surge in international recruitment. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently signed a deal with Nepal, allowing 100 nurses to work at the Hampshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. This pilot scheme could potentially open up opportunities for thousands of Nepalese nurses to work in the UK. However, the ethics of this move have been questioned by Sir Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians. Nepal is on an international recruitment red list, which the World Health Organization (WHO) operates to prevent developed countries from actively recruiting from regions with a lack of health workers or an undeveloped health system. Sir Andrew said, “That the UK should have [to] do special deals with other countries to support its own NHS workforce is in itself a marker of how workforce planning for the NHS has failed. That we are taking from a country that has substantially lower numbers of healthcare workers than many countries have is something we should have serious reservations about.”

NHS England has also been accused of “emptying” Zimbabwe of health workers. Although the country is not on the red list, experts have warned of a “critical shortage” of staff. In 2020, the UK issued 1,059 skilled visas to Zimbabweans, a figure which jumped to 5,549 in 2022, placing the southern African country among the UK’s top five skilled visa grantees. However, the recruitment drive has drained Zimbabwe so badly that Bulawayo municipality, in the southwest, recently complained that 13 nurses out of its skeleton staff have moved to the UK since January.

Despite the vast difference in the number of health professionals per population, Zimbabwe has managed to maintain a decent nurse-to-patient ratio, with 1.9 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people in 2018. In comparison, the UK had 8.2 nurses and midwives per 1,000 people. However, Zimbabwe is currently facing extreme poverty, which has led to nurses seeking better opportunities elsewhere. Despite being paid just $79 a month and dealing with a high patient load, Zimbabwean nurses have been fleeing the country due to the high inflation rate, which has shot up to 479% in 2020, according to Steve Hanke, director of the Troubled Currencies project at the Cato Institute. These nurses hope for a better life when they reach the UK, but many find themselves in a similar situation of financial insecurity. Experts warn that the issue of overcharging by agencies has become too large to ignore, with leaked care-worker pay slips showing salaries of £2,255 being drained by their employers under the guise of administrative fees until only £604 is left, causing an uproar on Twitter in June.

Mr Chagonda left the UK after only a few months due to unbearable conditions. He was not the only one who experienced a significant reduction in wages or had to live in cramped accommodations. During his time in Britain, he had to pay £70 a week to share a house with eight other people.

“I’ll never return to the UK as a care worker,” he told the local newspaper, describing such schemes as a form of modern slavery. However, the situation for those who were undocumented was even more dire. “I met people who had been in the UK since 1999, without papers, who worked as care workers for agencies and were left with only £300. You just do what they ask you to do,” he said, referring to his colleagues in Leeds. He added that some workers were so financially strapped that they had to sleep in their clients’ homes.

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Zimbabwean Drivers in the UK: Converting Your License? The Ministry of Transport Addresses Your Questions



Zimbabwean Drivers Licence to UK Licence

Recently, the Zimbabwe Ministry of Transport addressed the rising concerns about converting Zimbabwean driver’s licenses to British driver’s licenses. They shared an official statement on social media that provided answers to several crucial questions raised by Zimbabwean drivers.

Recognition of Zimbabwean Driver’s License by the British Government

One of the key questions addressed in the statement is whether the British Government still recognises the Zimbabwean driver’s license. The response was affirmative, confirming that Zimbabwean licenses are still recognised.

However, there have been unconfirmed reports of some Zimbabweans using counterfeit metal driver’s licenses in the UK. The drivers reportedly end up being involved or causing road traffic accidents

This has prompted the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK to require Certificates of Competency. These certificates are now part of the conversion process

Certificate of Competency Requirements

A question commonly asked by individuals who have lost their Certificate of Competency, which is now required for conversion, was also addressed.

The Ministry explained that the current system does not provide for duplicate Certificates of Competency due to their limited validity of 30 days.

The Ministry is actively engaging with the DVLA to reconsider this requirement.

Class Conversion and Downgrading

The statement addressed concerns from individuals who have class 2 driver’s licenses but wish to convert to classes 4 and 5, as opposed to being limited to class 2. The DVLA’s hesitation stems from doubts about the skills of many class 2 drivers who may not have undergone essential tests. To address this, the Ministry is facilitating testing for class four licenses, ensuring that drivers are competent for their desired class.

The Ministry has emphasised the importance of avoiding the use of fake Certificates of Competency. It strongly warns against presenting counterfeit certificates to the DVLA or any licensing authority as this may result in the revocation of valid driver’s licenses. The Ministry further urges applicants to follow the correct procedures for license conversion and avoid any illicit means.

Contacting CVR for License Verification

Concerns about the DVLA’s ability to contact the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) for license verification were also addressed. The Ministry assured the public that CVR maintains regular communication with DVLA.

To assist with license verification, citizens were provided with contact information for CVR via email addresses:,, and

Additionally, individuals were encouraged to seek assistance from their respective embassies if needed.

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