I have been receiving a flurry of emails asking me about the Affirmative Action Group (AAG). The majority of the questions have been premised on were are they located? Do they have a website? What are their contact details? Who is their point man? Normally I desist from commenting or writing articles on lobby groups that may have political connotations, but some clever chap indicated to me that they are a stakeholder in our economic landscape and that there is a thin line between politics and business. There are intertwined, hate it or love it!
The AAG was formed by the maverick businessman Phillip Chiyangwa and the late flamboyant businessman Peter Pamire. They formed AAG after what they perceived and deemed to be inertia on the part of Indigenous Business Development Centre (IBDC) (Strive Masiyiwa was the founding secretary general) to influence sweeping changes to the economic environment favouring indigenous black people. It is believed the founders were advancing their own interests as opposed to a broader empowerment vision.
On further investigation via various search engines on the internet and using the telone directory only a Hlalo T t/a as AAG appeared in the directory with a Bulawayo number: +263970822. The number went unanswered, at the time of writing this article we could not verify whether this was Matson Hlalo (transport operator) who was also a national vice president in 1997 with Saviour Kasukuwere (current Minister of Local Government). It baffles the mind whether this lobby group is still existent or it has become a yawning abyss.
The media is rife with news of Chamu Chiwanza being the current President and Phillip Chiyangwa the life president, we emailed both gentleman questionnaires to give us more information about their lobby group but a week later we had not received a response and the emails had not bounced back meaning they had reached their destination. We tried to get comments via phone but both their cellphone numbers went unanswered. Could it be that the office is domiciled at whoever is the current President at the time? Grapevine has it that it is the case, that the office has been run traditionally from the offices of the incumbent president’s office as was the case with these former presidents: Phillip Chiyangwa, Supa Mandiwanzira, Keith Guzah and currently Chamu Chiwanza. It is also interesting that all the past presidents have strong political backgrounds. Maybe this article will provoke a response from the people behind this empowerment “cartel”, whether its just a myth.