Now Daily Exclusive
A unit of London Stock Exchange-listed Old Mutual plc sponsored the activities of dictator Robert Mugabe’s deadly militias implicated in gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe to the tune of $10 million, Now Daily can reveal.
Old Mutual had pledged an additional $90 million to fund the militant youths but the money has become the subject of controversy after human rights groups sent e-mails to the company’s shareholders warning them to withhold the funds or face an avalanche of global protests.
A closely-guarded list of the beneficiaries of the $10 million ‘revolving fund’ leaked to Now Daily by officials shows that most of them are implicated in numerous acts of violence and political murder in Zimbabwe.
The money was ‘donated’ through the Central African Building Society (Cabs), which announced the launch of a $100 million ‘revolving fund’ for the youths in 2010. Now, government and Zanu PF officials, as well as Old Mutual executives privately admit that the money was never meant to be paid back. Rather, as one official told Now Daily on Wednesday, it was “money donated to take the pressure off the president from restless youths who were clamouring for payment for their role in the 2008 violence”.
“The agreement with Old Mutual was that they would give $100 million to the youth ministry, which would give the money to the selected youths. The selection was based on party membership. You had to be a member of Zanu PF and that party has a hierarchical system based on the number of atrocities one has committed,” said commentator Chris Mitchell.
The government has admitted that the money was abused and most of the militiamen who benefitted never paid back.
“Monies were coming from CABS and each province was given $10 million. The loans that were given out are $4.5 million and the only amount recovered was $1.5 million,” said deputy youth minister Luke Tongofa.
“Some youths were given loans and would go for leisure activities such as beer drinking and some would even buy cars or pay lobola.”
The Mugabe regime routinely depends on the generosity of donors to take care of its militants and multinational companies to employ its youth.
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