Wicknell Publicly Anoints Self King To Ruto, Mnangagwa Despite Conviction for Serious Money Laundering
28 April 2024
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The Audacity of Illusion: Wicknell Chivayo’s Grandiose Proclamation and its Impact on Presidential Integrity

By Lesley Dube | In a moment captured between the flashes of cameras and the subtle nods of diplomacy, Wicknell Chivayo, a convicted money launderer, stood shoulder to shoulder with the Presidents of Zimbabwe and Kenya. His proclamation that “Royal blood flows through my vein” resonated with a boldness rarely witnessed in public figures of his legal notoriety. This statement, steeped in self-aggrandizement, was not only unprecedented among African business figures but also loaded with implications that ripple through the corridors of power.

Wicknell Chivayo with President William Ruto

Wicknell Chivayo, a figure whose past is marred by a stint in prison from 2005 to 2008 for money laundering, has since enjoyed what can only be described as an unusually permissive existence. Despite his criminal record, Chivayo has been allowed to handle millions of dollars under dubious circumstances, often operating with what appears to be complete immunity from the usual scruples of law enforcement.

The image of Chivayo flanked by two of Africa’s presidents, not as a reformed man but as a brash businessman boasting of royal lineage, sends shockwaves through the foundational integrity of the presidency. His statement could be dismissed as mere hyperbole, yet the setting and his history lend it a gravity that cannot be ignored. This moment highlights a concerning symbiosis between political powers and wealthy individuals with questionable backgrounds.

The dangers of such associations are multifaceted. Firstly, it poses a direct challenge to the integrity of the presidential office. By aligning themselves with individuals like Chivayo, presidents risk the perception that political office can be swayed or tainted by the influence of private wealth, especially wealth acquired through illicit means. This perception erodes public trust in political institutions, which is crucial for the stability and democratic health of any nation.

Secondly, Chivayo’s statement and his prominence in such high-profile settings could potentially normalize relationships between politicians and other wealthy individuals with similar shady pasts. This normalization risks creating an environment where money laundering and other forms of financial malfeasance are tacitly accepted or outright ignored, provided the perpetrators can claim some form of utility or connection to the state.

Moreover, Chivayo’s unabashed proclamation of “royal blood” suggests a self-view elevated above the common citizenry, hinting at a perceived entitlement to special treatment. This is particularly inflammatory in countries like Zimbabwe and Kenya, where many citizens grapple with economic hardship and corruption. It is a stark reminder of the inequality that exists between the elite and those they govern.

In conclusion, the incident involving Chivayo and his grandiose declaration in the presence of two African presidents is not merely a personal faux pas but a significant commentary on the state of political and ethical standards within the region. It underscores the need for a rigorous reassessment of the relationships between political leaders and business figures, especially those with criminal pasts. The integrity of political office must be upheld by maintaining a clear boundary between leadership and illicit wealth. Only then can trust in these institutions begin to be restored, ensuring that the governance is carried out in the best interest of all its citizens, not just those claiming royal lineage.

In the face of boastful proclamations like those of Wicknell Chivayo and the potential risks such associations carry for political and financial integrity, several areas of Kenyan law may warrant closer examination and possible reinforcement:

1. **Anti-Corruption Legislation**: Kenya’s anti-corruption laws, particularly those under the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), need thorough review to ensure they are equipped to tackle not only direct acts of corruption but also the subtler forms of influence that wealthy individuals with criminal backgrounds might exert. Strengthening these laws could include harsher penalties for public officials who engage in or facilitate corruption.

2. **Campaign Finance Laws**: Laws governing the financing of political campaigns should be scrutinized to prevent individuals with dubious wealth from influencing political outcomes. This includes setting clear limitations on contributions, requiring full transparency of contributions, and enforcing strict penalties for non-compliance.

3. **Money Laundering Regulations**: The Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act needs constant updating to keep pace with evolving methods of money laundering and financial crimes. Enhancements might involve stricter monitoring and reporting requirements for financial and non-financial businesses, as well as increased resources for enforcement agencies.

4. **Public Officer Ethics Act**: This act sets the standards for the behavior of public officers. It may need amendments to include more stringent requirements for transparency, regular declarations of assets by public officials, and explicit prohibitions against associating with known criminals.

5. **Financial Reporting**: The requirements for financial reporting by companies, especially those engaged in public contracts, should be tightened. Regular audits should be mandatory, and there should be clear consequences for entities that fail to comply with financial transparency standards.

6. **Whistleblower Protections**: Enhancing protections for whistleblowers could encourage more individuals to come forward with information about corrupt practices involving high-level individuals and politicians. This includes ensuring their anonymity, protection from retaliation, and possible rewards for valuable information.

By probing and potentially strengthening these areas of law, Kenya can better safeguard the integrity of its political and financial systems, ensuring that the influences that lead to boastful declarations such as Chivayo’s are kept in check. Such measures are crucial for maintaining public trust and ensuring that political offices are not unduly influenced by individuals with potentially nefarious sources of wealth.


1. **Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Laws**: Zimbabwe’s fight against corruption can be fortified through the Anti-Corruption Commission, which needs robust backing to tackle corruption effectively. This includes enforcing laws that prevent government officials from engaging with known criminals or benefiting from illicit dealings.

2. **Public Officers Integrity Act**: This act, if not already in place, should be introduced or reinforced. It would mandate that public officials maintain a high standard of moral and ethical conduct, which includes avoiding any relationships that could impair their judgment or lead to conflicts of interest.

3. **Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act**: Strengthening this legislation would help prevent money laundering activities by enhancing the monitoring of financial transactions, especially those involving large amounts of money and public contracts. This would also involve stricter penalties for violations.

4. **Political Parties Finance Act**: This law should be enforced rigorously to regulate the funding of political parties and prevent political figures from being influenced by businessmen with dubious financial backgrounds. It requires full transparency in the financial dealings of political parties and their associations.

5. **Corporate Governance Codes**: Reinforcement of corporate governance standards is crucial. This involves ensuring that businesses, especially those engaged in public contracts, adhere to strict ethical guidelines and transparent financial reporting practices.

6. **Whistleblower Protection Laws**: Strengthening protections for whistleblowers in both the public and private sectors can encourage more individuals to come forward with information regarding unethical practices among high-ranking officials and influential businessmen.

7. **Electoral Laws**: Ensuring that electoral laws strictly prohibit candidates and parties from using funds obtained through illicit means can help maintain the integrity of electoral processes. This includes stringent vetting processes for candidates’ sources of campaign funds.

By invoking and possibly enhancing these laws, Zimbabwe can take significant steps toward maintaining the integrity of its governmental institutions and ensure that public officials are held to the highest standards of accountability and transparency. This is critical for building public trust and fostering a governance environment that resists corruption and undue influence.