Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, is the latest minister in recent weeks to formally come under the cosh from his own constituency, as Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars continue to rip the former liberation movement apart.
Kasukuwere, also Zanu PF’s national political commissar, has landed in trouble after Parliament yesterday recommended that he be arrested over alleged criminal abuse of office during his tenure at the Indigenisation ministry, where he stands accused of misrepresenting facts on $10 million meant for communities in the rich diamond mining area of Marange.
This comes as Zanu PF is still burning over a corruption storm in which Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa are facing a slew of charges relating to alleged graft at their ministry.
Zanu PF insiders say both Kasukuwere and Moyo are key members of the party faction going by the nickname Generation 40 (G40), which is rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding President Robert Mugabe.
At the same time, analysts said yesterday that the army’s unusual statements that the government should work more decisively to root out corruption by pursuing public sector officials implicated in graft has fuelled fears that Zanu PF’s succession ructions have become even more intractable, and that the country’s service chiefs are now heavily at the heart of the ugly infighting.
In the drama in the National Assembly, the parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, which is led by youthful legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena, tabled a detailed report on its findings on the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust (MZCSOT), which was set up to empower communities living in the area.
But before Wadyajena could table the report, there was heated debate among MPs after the clerk of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda, and the acting speaker, Mable Chinomona, tried blocking it, causing mayhem as legislators from both Zanu PF and the MDC protested heavily and delayed proceedings by almost an hour.
Chinomona sought to have the report toned down before it could be presented, but eventually relented after she faced resistance from members across the political divide.
MDC Chitungwiza North MP Godfrey Sithole, and Zanu PF MPs led by Joseph Chinotimba and Oliver Mandipaka, were particularly vociferous while arguing that the report should be debated.
“As veterans, we did not fight the (liberation) war so that we can have corrupt leaders being protected here in Parliament either by yourself as speaker or by anyone.
“We have seen in other countries like South Africa where even the president (Jacob) Zuma is roasted in Parliament. If someone is corrupt, let him face the music because the president has spoken against it on several occasions,” an angry Chinotimba, said.
When order prevailed, Wadyajena, whose detractors link him to the Mnangagwa Zanu PF faction, said Parliament should order both police and Zacc to make Kasukuwere account for the allegations of criminal abuse of office which happened during his time as Indigenisation minister.
He added that the evidence his committee had gathered after visiting the Chiadzwa diamond fields persuaded it to conclude that the minister had misled the nation and lied to Mugabe about the trust.
“With the findings of this enquiry revealing clear deception bordering on criminal abuse of office, the committee calls upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the Auditor General and all relevant authorities to institute formal proceedings within 14 days from the adoption of this report to investigate the conduct of … Kasukuwere, officials from the ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb) as well as the diamond mining companies in relation to the MZCSOT.
“The committee further recommends the president … establishes a commission of inquiry led by a judge or any other suitable candidate to investigate the intricate web of deceit, corruption and fraud related to the establishment and implementation of the MZCSOT.
“Further, that particular attention must be paid to a likely covert strategy meant to discredit and malign the office of the president,” Wadyajena said.
“The ZRP and responsible authorities must work towards concluding the investigation around the alleged externalisation of $500 million by Jinan and possibly other mining companies.
“The commissioner general of the police must issue a statement by November 30th, 2016 on the progress.
“An amendment of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act (14:33) as read with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment General Regulations 2010 and the Mines Minerals Act to reflect the legal status of Community Share Ownership Trusts, as a matter of priority,” his committee added in its report.
Yesterday’s recommendation by Parliament to have Kasukuwere arrested comes as Zacc has widened its investigations into Moyo’s alleged corrupt practices, to include activities that happened 17 years ago.
At the same time, the High Court has been petitioned to compel the police and Zacc to have him arrested over his alleged abuse of money at the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef), which falls under his purview. – Daily News