The Zimbabwe Gazette

'Philip Chiyangwa Fears For His Life'
Friday, 23 November 2007

Zimbabwean maverick business tycoon, Philip Chiyangwa has expressed fear for his life following recent encounters with state security agents and has since resorted to keeping a low profile. By Lee Shungu Speaking at a Hotel in Harare, Chiyangwa hints the more he gets successful, the more the government wants to 'bring him down'. "I have always needed money badly since my childhood. Now that I have prospered, a lot of people are planning to destroy me and my wealth." "I have been arrested on several occasions by the state, for nothing," he says. Chiyangwa used to be a vocal economic empowerment activist and ZANU PF politician. In 2004/5 he was arrested and detained for several months by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) after being accused of passing state secrets to South Africa agents. He allegedly received severe beatings and torture in which he reportedly suffered a mild stroke. On his release, Chiyangwa said he became a 'Born-again Christian' claiming he had found God inside Chikurubi maximum prison. From that time, he has been 'quiet'. "The state just don't want to see a person making his own money (havadi kuona munhu achiita mari yake. I am sure people are able to see it happening to other successful local businessmen, " he said. In 2004, Chiyangwa was arrested on charges he tried to prevent the arrest of two company (ENG) directors accused of defrauding investors of billions of dollars.{mosgoogle right} He founded the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) and is currently making waves in the local business circles with his property empire and one of his previous acquisitions, ZECO, one of Zimbabwe’s largest engineering companies involved in steel fabrication. "I have been and will continue buying companies and also investing on the stock exchange. I also recently acquired a firm in Ruwa," he said. "However, I have learnt a lesson and now know that this (arrests and threats) is the name of the game," said Chiyangwa. Chiyangwa was the ZANU PF Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi and the party’s chairman for Mashonaland West Province. The flamboyant entrepreneur hints there is a very thin line between being an entrepreneur and a criminal. "When we were growing up, I would steal from my mother's market place," he said. "From that time when I was a kid, many began not to trust me, especially family members. Sometimes I would be honest, and my brothers would steal, but the blame always came back to me," said Chiyangwa. These remarks come at a time when there still exists controversy on his rise and wealth acquisition. Born in 1959, Chiyangwa grew up in Chegutu in a family of 14 children in which his parents were peasants. He said his first job was being a grounds man for a Mozambican national living in Harare. He is however reported to be a cousin of President Robert Mugabe and worked for Chakari Mine before he was called up as a member of the BSAP African Reserve.

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