NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa (INDEPENDENT) has come under fierce criticism and attack after he likened Zanu-PF linked businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei to Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa and called on Zimbabweans to stop their daily attacks on Tagwirei.
Tagwirei has been under immense attack following revelations last week by The Sentry, a Washington-based policy and research organization, that he had benefitted to the tune of billions in dollars from public funds using his links to the Presidency and top bureaucrats.
Mliswa, who in self-styled fashion claimed to be related to Tagwirei, has come out in defence of the filthy rich tycoon. The motormouth politician also accused the opposition MDC Alliance of indirectly seeking funding from Tagwirei.
Mliswa said the ascendancy of Masiyiwa when he formed Econet Zimbabwe in 1998 was partly due to public sympathy. Masiyiwa fought Government in a long drawn-out legal battle for his telecoms license.
Said Mliswa; “The ascendancy of Strive Masiyiwa as a businessman was partly premised on public sympathy. You are creating the same environment for Tagwirei buy daily attacking him. If your party (MDC Alliance) wants money from him be open and go ask for it.”
In a previously leaked audio which subsequently led to Fortune Chasi being fired by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as Energy Minister, Mliswa was recorded purportedly in conversation with Tagwirei, who he referred as uncle.
Commenting on Mliswa’s sentiments, constitutional lawyer Dr Alex Magaisa said it was disrespectful to compare Tagwirei and Masiyiwa.
“With all due respect, those two names cannot comfortably co-exist in the same sentence unless they are used as contrasts,” Magaisa reckoned.
“One fought the state to establish his business and won a legal battle. The other is a PEP who has built his dubious empire on the back of state largesse.”
Another political analyst Taona Denhere said Masiyiwa’s achievements and philanthropy to the people of Zimbabwe was unmatched and it was an insult to compare his business acumen and stature with that of Tagwirei.
“Masiiwa’s business acumen and ethics are diametrically opposed to that of Tagwirei. Masiiwa’s value-based system is the polar opposite of Tagwirei.
“Tagwirei is a vital cog of Zanu-PF conveyor belt of crony tenderpreneurish and State subsidised avarice and rapacity.
“Kuda’s crony vulturistic empire its shrouded in secrecy. He doesn’t have any traceable record of job creation. All his business enterprises are involved in dark arts of speculative and money laundering. His Empire is run like a Mafia enterprise.”
Other Zimbabweans accused Mliswa of playing “stomach politics” of not being objective. They accused the former Zanu-PF provincial chairperson of being captured by Tagwirei and seeking to defend the shady businessman at all costs at the expense of the people he represents.
Tagwirei has vast interests in petroleum, platinum, gold, agriculture, banking, transportation and logistics among other sectors. He is a presidential advisor and close ally of President Mnangagwa. □