Chivayo Acquires Exiled Police Chief Chihuri’s US$7m Mansion

May 19, 2024
sir wicknell e1715923121466 | Report Focus News

Wicknell Chivayo, a convicted criminal turned tenderpreneur with close ties to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, now owns a US$7 million mansion in Harare. This mansion previously belonged to Augustine Chihuri, the exiled former Zimbabwe Republic Police commissioner known for his loyalty to Robert Mugabe. The wealth of both individuals remains inadequately explained.

During the November 2017 coup that ousted Mugabe, Chihuri was the sole security chief who aligned with the late strongman. Following his arrest, Chihuri fled to Malawi. In 2020, Zimbabwe’s National Prosecuting Authority seized his mansion, citing it as part of the “unexplainable wealth” he had accumulated over the years.

In court documents, Chihuri claimed a long-standing personal feud with Mnangagwa over a woman, describing his situation as “politically targeted persecution” for refusing to support the coup. However, in 2022, Chihuri regained control of his luxurious home and other properties after the state failed to prove he had embezzled US$10 million from public funds.

Now, the opulent mansion in Harare’s Gletwyn suburb belongs to Chivayo. Recently, South African luxury firm Norman Bakos furnished the house, with the renovations estimated to cost over US$100,000.

Chivayo’s lawyers, Messrs Manase and Manase, instructed advocate Lewis Uriri to inform News24 that Chivayo is a beneficiary of the house, which was purchased by a trust. “Mr. Chivayo is a beneficiary of the owner of the property, having purchased the same. The owner, whose title is being processed, is a trust that, for now, cannot be named,” said Uriri. Chivayo confirmed the mansion is his.

Since last year, Chivayo has mingled with Zimbabwe’s political elite, especially Mnangagwa and his family. In April, during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Chivayo was seen with Mnangagwa hosting Kenya’s President William Ruto. Reports suggest that his close relationship with the president has caused discomfort among some ruling Zanu PF members.

Chivayo has distributed luxury cars, including Mercedes Benz, Toyota Hilux, and smaller models like the Toyota Aqua, to Zanu PF supporters during last year’s general elections. He has even given cars to dancers at Zanu PF rallies. Despite his unexplainable wealth and investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, no wrongdoing was found. In 2004, he was sentenced to three years in prison for failing to pay a South African involved in a rands-for-Zim-dollars deal with him.