- Soul mates: Wicknell Chivayo and Grace Mugabe at her Mazowe farm
A Zimbabwean man has sent tremors into the country’s security establishment by publishing sensational dinner pictures of first lady Grace Mugabe with him.
The highly secretive family of dictator Robert Mugabe is alarmed as most of the pictures show Grace Mugabe living the high life, while in public she pretends to be frugal, sources said.
Wicknell Chivayo, a former street trader who claims to be a ‘businessman’ but appears more to be a wheeler-dealer with no tax records to back up his lavish lifestyle, posted the photographs on Facebook and the website of Intratrek, a company which he runs on behalf of a fugitive Zambian drug dealer sheltering in South Africa.
Most of the published pictures do not suggest adultery, which is what many viewers are looking for after Grace Mugabe’s reported sexual flings with businessman Peter Pamire, who was killed by Mugabe for the affair and former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono who was fired by the despot after their sex scandal was leaked to the United Kingdom Times. Many of the photos are a bit dated. However, they do show that at some point Grace Mugabe and Chivayo were very close. In many of the pictures, Grace Mugabe is smiling for the camera, a rare occurrence for the steely Zanu PF women’s league boss who once punched a photographer and cut his face with her encrusted diamond wedding ring after he tried to take pictures of her entering a Singapore medical facility with her husband.
In the photos, Grace Mugabe and Chivayo are dining in Dubai, lounging outside her Mazowe orphanage with kids or just posing for the camera. Many people who know Grace Mugabe at close range were surprised by how close Chivayo got to the wife of the man described as the world’s worst dictator.
“Why is Wicknell getting such special treatment? Grace Mugabe is rude to everyone, so why is she being so nice to this youth from the streets? Answer that for yourself,” said an informant who works for the first lady.
Questions have been raised about Chivayo’s motives amid claims that he could be a spy for South African intelligence. This is after it emerged that his business partner and Intratrek ‘executive chairman’ Ibrahim Sildky Yusuf is a front for South African intelligence. Yusuf is connected to former African National Congress exiles who were based in Lusaka in the 1980s, including Jacob Zuma, who was the armed liberation party’s head of intelligence. Yusuf is particularly close to the S.A. intelligence community, having looked after some of the current operatives in Lusaka, which he later fled after being arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering. He is co-owner of Vegarox in S.A. with former head of the National Intelligence Agency Billy Masetlha.
Chivayo started posting the ‘date pictures’ with Grace Mugabe on his websites in what appears to be an ominous blackmail threat against the first lady after it was revealed that Zesa Holdings was investigating allegations of corruption, tender fraud and bribery in the award of energy contracts to Intratrek by the State Procurement Board on behalf of the Zimbabwe Power Company. Zesa officials have now confirmed that they were forced to give Intratrek the contracts after money changed hands at the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. The minister of energy has been forced to issue a statement on cue from Grace Mugabe stating that Chivayo’s government contracts were ‘above board’, raising questions about why government would want to protect the convicted drug dealer who was jailed two years in 2002 for money laundering.
Grace Mugabe’s office has not commented on the pictures or allegations of adultery involving herself and Wicknell Chivayo in a Dubai hotel, after which he allegedly was taken to the airport in a Rolls Royce rented by Grace.
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