The Air Zimbabwe board has appointed, with immediate effect Mr Simba Chikore as the new chief operations officer, making him the second in command at the parastatal. Mr Chikore is President Mugabe’s son-in-law who is married to his only daughter Mrs Bona Mugabe-Chikore. He is an experienced pilot.Air Zimbabwe board chairperson Professor Chipo Dyanda confirmed Mr Chikore’s appointment yesterday, saying he had become the best candidate for the job after having excelled in the interviews that were conducted for the post.
“It is correct that Mr Chikore has been appointed to the post. He does exceed the minimum requirements. He also excelled in psychometric tests and interviews,” she said. Mr Chikore’s appointment comes hard on the heels of the appointment of the parastatal’s chief executive officer Mr Ripton Muzenda in August.
The airline has been facing various challenges, among them delays in flight schedules and revival of lucrative regional and international routes, employees welfare, among other issues.
Commenting on the appointment, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said he had approved recommendations by the board after he was satisfied by Mr Chikore’s credentials. Dr Gumbo said Mr Chikore was among 134 applicants who applied and attended interviews conducted by the board and a team of consultants.
“He has a lot of experience in the aviation industry that he gained initially at Air Zimbabwe, and subsequently with international airlines like Qatar. He excelled during the interview, and we are satisfied that his credentials actually surpass the required qualifications,” said Dr Gumbo.
He said the appointment had nothing to do with his relationship with the First Family where he is a son-in-law.
“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. Remember, in any society, there are relations and that should not distract us from appointing competent people.
“There is nothing untoward about that. In any case, the President is my nephew. Can people therefore objectively allege that I was appointed in irregular circumstances? We cannot deny someone a job on the basis that he is related to another person even when we are satisfied that he is the best for the post,” said Dr Gumbo.
Dr Gumbo said the appointment of Mr Chikore was consistent with his thrust to restructure and reorganise the national airline so that it returns to viability.
“This is why we are making all these changes. Right now, I am looking for a partner to work with Air Zimbabwe. I want a strong management that will bring Air Zimbabwe back to profitability. I have confidence in the board, and we need to strengthen the management team,” said Dr Gumbo.