Biti’s property divorce list raises eyebrows

Mr Biti

Mr Biti

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
Former Finance Minister and lawyer Mr Tendai Biti should explain his source of wealth that enabled him to acquire properties in Harare’s affluent suburbs and top of the range vehicles, as exposed in the divorce he is going through in the courts, analysts have said. Mr Biti’s properties were exposed in divorce papers filed by his wife Mrs Charity Biti (nee Maguwah) recently at the High Court citing loss of affection and love for each other.

Analysts that spoke to The Herald yesterday said the properties listed in the court papers raised questions on how Mr Biti had acquired them, given his previous utterances against extreme wealth accumulation. The properties listed by Mrs Biti in the divorce papers that she wants shared between themselves include:

(a) an immovable property at Stand Number 14 Coltman Road, Mount Pleasant in Harare measuring 4 048 square metres

(b) a 6 831 square metre plot in Umwinsdale.

(c) Number 2 Poland Way, Glen Lorne, Harare (4 000 square metres),

(d) Number 7 Bernard Avenue, Chisipite (4 114 square metres),

(e) Number 26 Rowland Square, Milton Park (2 762 square metres),

(f) Tsoko Lodge, Number 1 Shato Close, Juliasdale.

The vehicles include a black Mercedes-Benz S350 (ADY 5606), a Toyota Land=Cruiser (ADI 2870), a white Ford Ranger (ADL 1761), Mercedes-Benz E300 (ADA 7481) and a Mercedes-Benz E280 (ACY 5148).

Tanzania-based political analyst Mr Tafadzwa Mugwadi said Mr Biti was similar to former Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, whose vast properties across the country were exposed by his former wife Marian Chombo during divorce proceedings. “Tendai Biti is an Ignatius Chombo incarnate in the opposition ranks, whose penchant for primitive accumulation of wealth runs parallel to the working class people that the MDCs purport to represent,” he said.

“It is clear that his properties defines his understanding of society as one of the haves and the have-nots, with him being the petit bourgeoisie, whose wealth is totally untraceable in a just society. I only hope he did not voraciously acquire those properties as a Minister of Finance. He has joined the land barons’ league.”

Another analyst said, Mr Goodwine Mureriwa, said Mr Biti could have abused his position when he was in the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC to loot property. “What is important to note is that most of the corruption in the urban areas were done through the MDC-T led councils and a number of top officials from that party also benefited,” he said.

“It is clear there was collaboration between the council officials and some of these MDC officials, so it is in the nation’s interest to know if he did not abuse the various portfolios he has held to acquire those properties.” Mr Mureriwa said there was rampant abuse of donor funding within the opposition ranks, with funds running into billions being looted since 2000.

A Harare lawyer who declined to be named for professional reasons said Mr Biti’s position had been untenable because of previous stance against wealth accumulation. “In the past, he has blasted Zanu-PF leaders for what he termed ‘primitive accumulation of wealth’, but the properties listed by his wife do not show the position he has spoken against in the past,” the lawyer said. “He will have to explain how he acquired those properties if people are not to speculate on its origins.”

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  • Why like this

    He worked hard period

    • Marufu Chihwandire

      Worked hard where? We all work hard but we don’t accumulate primitively like this.

      • Mashrun

        There is nothing sinister on that list. The man just worked hard, period. Wherever he dipped his hands if he has, obviously it was not in government coffers as the wife is clearly stating that most of those properties were acquired before the solemnisation of their marriage in 2007. We all know that he has been a senior partner and a successful lawyer at one of the big firms in the country. Izvi zvasiyana nezvaChombo ane mastands kunana Binga and so forth-do you think he was buying those stands, coz obviously he is not gonna stay in Binga one day kana kuti aingoti every council shld give him land. Let’s leave Biti alone

      • thetruth2088

        Iwe those are normal properties for a seasoned lawyer who can actually track his income, remember this guy he a big time lawyer what is so sinister about those properties for a man Biti’s age. Really six properties and a few cars, ma Zanu mashaya nyaya apa.This is hard work, how can you compare with chombo in what world even the number of properties give us a break here.

    • Cde Chirikuutsi Wasu

      “Worked hard“ like Chombo and Kasukuwere? A ZIMRA supported forensic audit trail should prove that on all our political leaders across the political divide in “dis kantry“! The Zimbabwe nation hardly believes such insinuation.

      • Pams

        Biti was a well established lawyer being partner at Honey & Blackenberg, the oldest law firm in the land well before joining politics. stop commenting on things you don’t know. Actually there are far more wealthier lawyers than him in this country.

  • Jonah15

    Being disingenuous here, why not just be fair and do an investigative journalism on the President, the former president, and cabinet ministers’ sources of wealth stop being picky.

  • TruthHurts!

    Donor funds are diverted into property accumulation whilst the poor urban youth high on bronco and msombodiya is directed to run amock destroying property and attacking police officers in uniform. Meanwhile, the criminal architects of all that mayhem and destruction watch the unfolding scenes of anarchy being screened on TV from the comfort of their sofas in their beautiful homes somewhere in the affluent suburbs of Harare.

  • Tsvakwi

    Is biti not a high priced lawyer. hapana wealth inoshamisa apa!!

    • Pams

      Tell them, he is a top lawyer, there are far more wealthier lawyers around.

  • Observer

    Com’on, let’s not be petty please. We have known Biti as an accomplished lawyer, running a law firm, who has defended many clients including some of the country’s political big guns like Ndabaningi Sithole. How can a lawyer, politician and former finance Minister fail to acquire such a short list of properties. He’s a very different case from Chombo whose only know career before politics was the lecture room.

  • Mpengesi

    Hamuna nyaya. Shut up and sit down. You cannot compare the two: Gina was a mere University teacher and Tendai has been a successful lawyer for quite some time; remember he was also a senior partner at Scanlen and Holderness? As for the cars, I’m sure he was entitled to a decent number after serving for a number of years as an MP/Govt minister. Munoda kuti aite sei nemari yakawanda yaanoita segweta? Akupei? By the way, I’m a staunch Zanu PF supporter.

    • Tobias

      Hapana arikuti Biti akaba apa. Munovhundukei. Chombo was a university lecturer and a government minister for how long? Biti is young and graduated from college in the 90s when Chombo was already a minister. All we are saying is for a fair anti-corruption thrust Biti’s properties need to be audited so that we establish how he acquired them.

      • Kureva

        How about Obert for a start.

      • thetruth2088

        Ibvapo iwe, give me a break. Even earning $2000 a month for the past 10 years and zimra taking half his earning bitu can justify this wealth. How do you justify the hundreds of properties Chombo or Obert have.

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    Corruption knows no political party boundary. Corruption must go .

  • Zim1

    This is hogwash. The guy has been a top class lawyer for years, he’s worked for his possessions. It appears the herald is slipping back into its old self, where they hunt for non issues instead of lobbying for real matters like the missing USD15 Billion, for example. Som of us can see where all this is headed…

  • Observer

    Cumon guys, Biti is a re-known lawyer who has been in the industry for sometime now, and having been a holder of high profile posts in govt & his party, he can afford to have these properties…by the way this I just a paltry 6 stands or properties nd few cars. We cannot compare with chombo’s almost 200 properties & innumerable fleet of wheels

  • I am an African

    That`s not too much. Haasiye here munhu ane law firm uyu.

  • Kureva

    Start with all senior gvt officials who built mansions worth $300000 when they have salaries of <$2500 and no known business interests even for maputi

  • Kureva

    Start with all senior gvt officials who built mansions worth $300000 when they have salaries of <$2500 and no known business interests even for maputi

  • Old One

    Haaa Biti haana mari uyu. Guys musanyeberane. Muno mune vanhu vane cash. Politics pays and so does law, kikiki

  • Good Waita

    This list is not comperable to Chombo’s. Surely with his profile Biti should be able to afford 5 cars. Also to add on that comparison lets say its out that Chombo’s wealth was exposed at their divorce and nothing was done about it. I think our journalism here is shifting back to what it is used to- tunnel vision, making is see what they want us to see dispite not being real. If our legal system is fair this time, what should happen to such reporters if an audit is done to expose nothing sinful about such a matter