Zimbabwe’s Parliament Summons Mugabe Over Diamond Corruption

Robert Mugabe is set to appear before a Zimbabwean parliamentary committee to answer questions relating to alleged looting at the Marange diamond fields.

This will be the first time that Mugabe will be forced to account for his actions while in charge of the country. The former president ruled the country for nearly four decades before being forced from office in November last year. His replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has pledged to crack down on corruption.

Temba Mliswa, the chairperson of Zimbabwe’s parliamentary committee on mines and mining development, confirmed that they were preparing a summons for Mugabe.

“He is not being prosecuted. We are just going to get oral evidence from him on the time he was President. It’s very legal, it’s above board. He is not being arrested. He will give oral evidence pertaining to the area of diamonds mining he presided over, that is in order,” Mliswa told the Mail & Guardian.

Zimbabwe’s vast diamond wealth has been largely squandered through mismanagement and corruption. Even Mugabe himself once admitted that some $15-billion in diamond revenue remains unaccounted for.

Unprecedented

Political analyst and Tshwane University of Technology lecturer Ricky Mukonza said that the prospect of Mugabe being interrogated by members of parliament represents a decisive break with the past. “The summoning of Mugabe before the parliamentary committee is unprecedented as he has been used to running a government that does not account to the people. Top government officials, including Mugabe have largely operated on the basis of impunity.”

Mukonza added: “On Mugabe’s part, it will now dawn that he no longer has power and can now be brought before committees and even the courts to answer on his conduct when he was still in power. For the new government, this maybe a way of demonstrating that Mnangagwa’s era is a break from the past. It seems to suggest that there is willingness to embrace tenets of good governance such as accountability and transparency.”

The parliamentary mines committee has been very active in recent months, summoning some of Zimbabwe’s most powerful figures to account for the missing diamond billions. Home affairs minister Obert Mpofu, former state security minister Didymus Mutasa, former police minister Ignatius Chombo and others have already appeared before the committee.

On Monday this week, former mines secretary Francis Gudyanga appeared before the committee and said his life was under threat from “dark forces” if he discloses what he knows about diamond-related corruption.

Testimony from top security officials has confirmed long-standing reports that security agencies such as the Central Intelligence Organisation and the Zimbabwe Republic Police at times used diamond mining to fund their operations. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, which has previously been implicated in serious human rights abuses at the Marange diamond fields, including the killing of civilians, did not turn up to a scheduled parliamentary hearing on Monday.

Robert Mugabe’s direct links to Marange are thought to run through Robert Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean businessman and close associate of the former president who is also the chairperson of Mbada Diamonds, which which used to own a concession at Marange. Mhlanga is Mugabe’s former personal pilot and is alleged to operate as a proxy for the Mugabe family.

The Mail & Guardian reported in 2012 that Mhlanga had been on a R185-million property-buying spree in South Africa, acquiring prime real estate on the Durban north coast and in Sandton, Johannesburg.

His property dealings raised eyebrows because he appeared to be content to pay up to six times the going rate for the properties. The M&G also reported that he was at the centre of an opaque network of companies based in South Africa, Mauritius, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

Since his ouster, the former president has largely kept out of the private eye, staying at his official Blue Roof residence in Harare. In December the new administration approved a retirement package which included the residence, private air travel, a fleet of vehicles, and a staff of at least 20 people.Mail&G

Joshua Nkomo’s Walking Stick Is Safe Under Family Custody After Nelson Chamisa Claimed Ownership

The ‘intonga kamdala wethu’ (walking stick) of the late vice president Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo, is safe and secure under the custody of the family with no plans to give it to the MDC-T leader Advocate Nelson Chamisa. 

Following revelations by the Advocate Chamisa that on his visit to the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo museum in Bulawayo, he was promised the traditional walking stick of umdala, family member and son to the late Father Zimbabwe, Mr Sibangiliwze Nkomo said the ‘intonga kamdala’ is sacred and remains in the custody of the family with no intentions to give it to anyone.

He further stated that the MDC-T leader visited the museum at the invitation of its chief executive officer Mr Jabulani Hadebe, who is said to be eying the Nkayi South constituency under the MDC-T party.

Mr Nkomo calmed the nerves of many in the region who were shocked by revelations that Advocate Chamisa had been offered Dr Nkomo’s ‘intonga’ saying the family which lives in Phelandaba did not even meet the MDC-T leader as there was never such an arrangement.

The mention of umdala wethu’s intonga by Advocate Chamisa was viewed as a political ploy to gunner support in the Matabeleland region and an attempt to upstage his political rivalry Ms Thokozani Khuphe who is leading a splinter group of the MDC-T.-ZBC

Kasukuwere Put On His Bulletproof Vest, Fled To Blue Roof Without Informing Us: Moyo Reveals More Details

Former G40 mastermind Professor Jonathan Moyo has claimed that his  G40 compatriot Saviour Kasukuwere left him stranded when he fled to former president Robert Mugabe’s Blue Roof Mansion on the night of the military takeover. Moyo described how the two families were attacked by armed soldiers, who he alleges were Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers. The two had to call former first lady Grace Mugabe, crying out for her to save them.

  • Saved By Grace : How Jonathan Moyo Cried To Mugabe’s Wife

In an interview with The Standard, Moyo said,

I did not hide at President Mugabe’s house in the morning of November 15, 2017, when the coup happened. My family and I were with Cde Kasukuwere and his family when his house came under heavy gunfire from Chiwenga’s soldiers.

During that gunfire, I got a call from Amai Dr Grace Mugabe, who knew that my family and I had joined the Kasukuweres earlier in the night and she was checking on us after receiving reports of army shootings at Dr Ignatius Chombo’s house. When I answered the call, I told her we were under attack, asked for help to rescue the families, especially the children, who were in indescribable disbelief and shock that Chiwenga had sent soldiers to kill them.

Amai Mugabe could hear the heavy and continuous sound of gunfire as I spoke to her and she too became shocked beyond description before hanging up the call.  Some five or so minutes later, she called again and asked me how many we were in the Kasukuwere house. I told her that Cde Kasukuwere was with his wife and three children while I was with my wife and four children making a total of 11 of us.

Amai Mugabe called again after 10 or so minutes and by this time the gunfire had gone silent and she advised that two Landcruisers, one for each family, were on their way to take us to the Blue Roof, President Mugabe’s residence, where we could leave our terrified families. When the first Landcruiser arrived, Cde Kasukuwere put on his bulletproof vest and went outside the house and was driven to the Blue Roof.

We waited for Cde Kasukuwere to come back to advise us what was going on outside as we did not know then that he had already gone alone to the Blue Roof but when he did not return, after a little, we all started getting out of the house one by one but fearing that the soldiers were still in the vicinity. Then the second Landcruiser arrived and the 10 of us quickly jumped in and somehow managed to fit to our great surprise and relief.

Moyo and Kasukuwere fled the country after the military takeover and went into exile.  Their location is as yet undisclosed.

More: Read Full Interview In The Standard