By Kuda Chideme, HARARE, October 4 (The Source) – Air Zimbabwe has appointed President Robert Mugabe’s son- in-law, Simba Chikore, as its chief operating officer, making him the second in command at the struggling national airline.
Air Zimbabwe chairperson Chipo Dyanda on Tuesday confirmed Chikore’s appointment to The Source.
“Yes, thank you I have to go for a meeting,” Dyanda told The Source, when asked to confirm the appointment. She refused to entertain any further questions.
Chikore’s appointment follows the August appointment of Ripton Muzenda, the son of Mugabe’s late, long-serving deputy Simon Muzenda as chief executive.
Not much is known about Chikore, or his credentials, although state media reports have said he has an aviation industry background.
Chikore married Mugabe’s only daughter, Bona, in March 2014.
At the time, state media quoted Mugabe as saying the two had met during an Air Zimbabwe flight to Malawi a few years ago which Chikore piloted. Unconfirmed media reports say Chikore subsequently left Air Zimbabwe for a major Gulf airline, although a report by the UK’s Daily Telegraph seemed to cast doubts on these reports.
The wholly state-owned Air Zimbabwe is a perennial loss-maker and government has announced plans to take over the airline’s $300 million debt as part of efforts to turn its fortunes around under new management.