Son-in-law of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been appointed the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of struggling state airline Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) drawing a lot of criticisms.
Simba Chikore, who married Mugabe’s only daughter Bona in 2014, has joined the list of the president’s family members holding top national positions including nephews Patrick Zhuwao and Albert Mugabe.
According to local media News Day, Chikore’s appointment comes barely two months after the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s son was appointed the airline’s Chief Executive Officer.
The young man has no experience of running anything in his life, he has not even run a chicken run. To expect him to be in charge of a national airline, as COO, would have been a good April Fools’ Day joke and yet we are in October.
“This is an extremely sad development. It proves that the State has been privatised. It is now being controlled by a Mugabe dynasty,” said the opposition MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu as quoted by News Day.
The experience of the 39-year-old was questioned by opposition parties despite his stint in the aviation industry, claiming that he is not qualified for the advertised job that requires 10 years of experience.
Transport Minister says Chikore exceeded these qualifications for the COO post. pic.twitter.com/K8E7ciLAnE— Zim Media Review (@ZimMediaReview) October 5, 2016
“The young man has no experience of running anything in his life, he has not even run a chicken run. To expect him to be in charge of a national airline, as COO, would have been a good April Fools’ Day joke and yet we are in October,” People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume was quoted as saying.
AirZim’s board chairperson Chipo Dyanda confirmed Chikore’s appointment on Tuesday and Transport Minister Joram Gumbo explained on Wednesday that he was the best candidate for the job among 134 applicants after going through the recruitment process.
“We appointed him in his own right as Simba Chikore. Remember he is a Zimbabwean who is entitled to take up any job as long as those offering it are satisfied that he is the best person … in any society there are relations and that should not distract us from appointing competent people,” The herald quoted the minister who was responding to criticisms.
The airline, owned by the Zimbabwean government, is debt-ridden to a reported tune of $300 million.
Zimbabweans have taken to social media to express their discontent with the appointment.
We demand chikore's in terms sec 62 of the constitution from airzim— Leopold Mudisi (@LeopoldMudisi) October 5, 2016
I think the promised 2.2million jobs are coming now,now Simba Chikore got his……let me be patient— melody shorai (@melodyshorai1) October 5, 2016
Zimbabweans being taken for a ride Simba Chikore appointed Chief Opetations of Air Zim— Leonard koni (@Leokoni) October 5, 2016
With the current state of Air Zimbabwe, Simba Chikore is the right person. With the current state of Zimbabwe….. (aargh, never mind).— JoeCitizen (@BelieveCitizen) October 5, 2016
AirZim Chairman (Mugabe's relation) says Simba Chikore (Mugabe's son-in-law) was the best candidate for AirZim COO role. How convenient 🤔— Gidza WaGidzaldo (@WaGidzaldo) October 5, 2016