ZIMBABWE Banking breakdowns 23rd January 2004 Image courtesy of Panos Pictures View site Financial and political casualties mount as the struggle to succeed President Mugabe intensifies Political kingpin Phillip Chiyangwa has plenty of enemies but his arrest on 10 January on charges of obstructing a police probe into banking corruption has rocked the political establishment. Member of Parliament for Chinhoyi, a member of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's nomenklatura and an ally of presidential contender Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chiyangwa had paraded himself as a black-empowerment activist as well as an anti-corruption campaigner in pursuit of business people and opposition supporters, such as Strive Masiyiwa and Nigel Chanikira. Chiyangwa's status as a distant relative of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and also ZANU-PF Chairperson in Mugabe's Mashonaland West Province seem to have convinced him he was untouchable. Senior ZANU-PF officials have seized on his arrest as proof that the government won't protect its own in its efforts to crack down on corruption. This follows several embarrassing revelations about cronyism in the land resettlement programme (AC Vol 44 Nos 4 & 22) and signs that more than a third of banks are near to collapse. According to the government's land audit last year, Chiyangwa had quarrelled with Mashonaland West Governor Peter Chanetsa (whose retirement was announced last month and whose household was reported by the Utete Committee to own nine farms) and Minister of Local Government Ignatius Chombo over the allocation of 90 farms, which caused them to remain idle for two years.