Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Kasukuwere in trouble

HARARE - Environment minister Savior Kasukuwere has been summoned to Parliament to explain issues surrounding the cloudy community share ownership trusts (CSOTs) in Manicaland.

This comes as the Mount Darwin South legislator has been fingered in an ugly row or quarrel with youth, empowerment and indigenisation portfolio committee chair Justice Wadyajena — in an incident that has since been reported to speaker Jacob Mudenda.
Kasukuwere in trouble
“As part of the Committee’s ongoing oversight mandate, the Committee invites you to a meeting on Thursday 15th May… at Parliament Building,” the House of Assembly said in an April 29 letter.

“As the previous Minister of... Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, the Committee invites you to apprise it on… pledges made by the mining companies,” it said, adding the swaggering politician could “bring any documentation and agreements regarding pledges made to the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust”.

Further, the Gokwe-Nembudziya Member of Parliament’s committee wants clarity on the “inconsistencies in the lesser share certificates issued” and for Kasukuwere to “bring all correspondence to the mining companies” regarding CSOTs.

The development comes as five diamond firms at Chiadzwa and the minister’s Indigenisation successor Francis Nhema have denied penning agreements obligating them to pay $50 million to the Zimunya-Marange share ownership trusts, and that the vaunted deals were nothing more than “gentlemen’s agreements”.

The companies, which appeared before the same committee, include Mbada, Anjin, Diamond Mining Corporation, Jinan and Marange Resources.

But as the saga plays out, Kasukuwere has come out guns blazing and to a point that he has produced letters, which he says were written to and by the same miners.

However, Nhema appears to have drilled holes into his predecessor’s story by telling Parliament that: “I have even asked officials whether the letters are there. The problem is that there is no reference, no date stamp to authenticate the letters. I have checked with many files, I don’t know if they are there.”

“I can’t say that there are not authentic but I have not seen any of the said letters. I tried to ask the (ministry) officials but no one knows about them,” the minister said.

While President Robert Mugabe was made to “hawk around dummy cheques” for the money paid by the Marange gem miners, analysts say the probity and efficacy of the CSOT plan, and its socio-economic agenda was always in doubt.

As Kasukuwere and his coterie of die-hard supporters have come out to say the “deals” were bonafide, the empowerment committee’s work has inadvertently exposed the dubious or shoddy nature of the Zanu PF politburo member’s agreements with the various gem players.

To further compound his misery, Wadyajena’s committee has also gathered some salacious, if not tantalising, information that the boisterous minister’s brother Tongai was failing to service a $5 000 Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe debt, thus enraging the businessman-cum-politician.

As such, the Migdale Holdings founder has reportedly hurled insults and threats at the Midlands youngster.

In a letter to Parliament, Wadyajena said he was threatened by Kasukuwere in front of assembly colleagues for merely seeking to understand Zimbabwe’s economic empowerment programme, in line with his oversight role.

“As I was entering Parliament… (on) 26 March 2014, I met Minister Kasukuwere by the door… I greeted him politely in deference to his seniority as a member of the politburo and the executive,” the youthful chair of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment committee wrote, adding “instead of responding” the former “started shouting, chiding and lampooning me”.

“Throughout all this, he alleged that my portfolio committee was useless, I was attacking members of his family, especially his young brother (Tongai) and on a witch-hunt against him,” Wadyajena said, adding further that the businessman-cum-politician had accused him of being used by Enock Porusingazi.

Mudenda has also confirmed receiving the dispatch — also copied to Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo — and said he was working on the legalities of the complaint.

Specifically, Kasukuwere was irked by Wadyajena’s interrogation of the youth development fund — once administered by the top Zanu PF man and some banks — as well as circumstances around the controversial funding of CSOTs in Chiadzwa.

As things stand, it is also alleged that the funds were abused by top party bigwigs, including politburo and Cabinet members, falling way out of the youth clusters.

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