Controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo has been gifting artistes for their “loyalty to the ruling Zanu PF party”, which has raised eyebrows in some quarters with some people placing the blame on the Sports, Arts and Culture minister, Kirsty Coventry.
Coventry was reappointed Sports, Arts and Culture minister just after the August 23 and 24 elections, a development, which came as a surprise to many who felt she had failed the arts industry during her first tenure as the Arts minister.
The country’s top Olympian has been castigated for sitting on her laurels while the arts sector is wobbling.
As a result, local artistes have been living from hand to mouth and that has seen them raising a begging bowl and getting exploited in the process.
Political activist and lawyer Fadzai Mahere on Thursday took it to X where she shared her view about how Coventry has let down the entertainment industry.
“The crisis is just as bad if not worse. Ask yourself when was the last time a Zimbabwean artiste won a Grammy?” said Mahere.
“Why do our artists have to pander to doggy politics and dark characters in order to drive decent cars?
“Is their desperation not enough to break your heart?”
Mahere’s remark came after Chivayo gifted cars to artiste thanking them for their loyalty to Zanu PF.
An arts critic speaking on conditions of anonymity said Coventry could not be the reason for the demise of the arts sector, but she has significantly contributed.
“The economy is d3ad, hence the demise of the arts sector in general,” said the critic.
“However, the minister has been found wanting on a number of occasions and that’s how she has contributed to the collapse of the sector.
“Everyone is now raising a begging bowl and showing their allegiance to a political party because they are hungry.”
Sandra Ndebele, Fantan, Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Seh Calaz are among beneficiaries of Chivayo’s recent benevolence.
Last year the controversial businessman also rewarded Zanu PF praise singer Chief Shumba Hwenje (born Admire Sibanda) with a brand new GD-6 and US$50 000 to buy a house.
Chivayo also rewarded comedians Sabhuku Vharazipi and Chairman, along with Mbuya Mai John, each with a sum of US$10 000.
He was not alone as the likes of Holy 10, Enzo Ishal, Kikky Bad**s, Michael Maggz as well as comedians Doc Vikela and Bhutisi also received cars and gifts from other Zanu PF financiers.
Chivayo’s recent extravagant spending on top-of-the-range cars including about 100 Toyota Aquas gifted to members of his Johane Masowe church prompted the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to launch an investigation into his source of income.
The controversial businessman, however, insists that “he is clean” and that his lavish spending does not warrant Zacc investigations.
Zimbabwe Women Against Corruption Trust director Sandra Matendere said Chivayo’s spending was not only suspicious, but shocking.
“We are concerned whether his source of wealth is genuine,” she said.
“We recommend Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to make use of unexplained wealth order to thoroughly investigate Chivayo.
“The level of corruption in the country is so high and it widens the gap between the rich and the poor, fuelling inequality and depriving the poor from accessing basic services like healthcare and quality education.”
Matendere said a genuine business takes into consideration profit-making and loss.
“So it’s difficult to comprehend how much profit Chivayo was making, which allows him to spend that much on ‘gifts’”.
SOURCE : THE STANDARD