The late Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) chief executive Douglas Munatsi worked in a tense and toxic political environment and he was eventually sucked to the centre of a vicious power struggle.
Munatsi was reportedly close to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and originally hailed from the latter’s home province, Midlands.
He is also said to have been among key people who were completely behind Mnangagwa during the November 2017 coup when he ousted the late former president Robert Mugabe.
Munatsi was appointed to head ZIDA and into the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe monetary policy committee (MPC) after the coup.
According to The NewsHawks, in April 2020, Vice President Chiwenga visited Munatsi’s farm and this reportedly did not go down well with the Mnangagwa camp.
He explained to the publication that Chiwenga had asked to visit his Kunatsa Farm at Matepatepa in Bindura North, Mashonaland Central province.
Munatsi said after Chiwenga’s visit, he had received a warning from “security circles” as to why he had invited the Vice-President before Mnangagwa came to his farm.
Munatsi had earlier last year visited Mnangagwa’s Precabe Farm in Sherwood, Kwekwe, Midlands province.
He told reporters that there were people who were not happy that he was interacting with Chiwenga and the late Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, and were threatening him.
Munatsi said the people threatening him were from “security, military intelligence”.
He eventually invited Mnangagwa to visit his farm on 28 August 2020, which he did.
Analysts say the move was meant to prove to those who were now accusing him of defecting to the Chiwenga camp while assuring Mnangagwa of his loyalty. A The NewsHawks source was quoted as saying:
That he found himself engulfed in toxic political, business and corruption fights is not in doubt.
The only question is whether that played a part in his murder or not. Quite clearly it did. He was killed for political and business reasons.
Munatsi was reported to have not been on good terms with business rivals around Mnangagwa over access to the President, business deals and ZIDA issues.
The banker died on 29 November in a mysterious fire at his upmarket Harare apartment.
Authorities are still trying to establish the cause of the fire and death through the pending post-mortem results as well as reports from the Forensic Unit and Fire Brigade.
Mnangagwa said Munatsi died in “unclear circumstances”.