via Mugabe groups in messy fight – Southern Eye 5 January 2014 by Richard Muponde
DAGGERS have been drawn out between two co-operatives in Victoria Falls over the use of President Robert Mugabe’s name and allocation of stands amid reports of embezzlement of funds.
The dispute has sucked in the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and President Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao.
The battle lines are between Gushungo Robert Mugabe Co-operative Society, a co-operative registered ostensibly for youths who campaigned for Patrick Zhuwao in the 2005 Parliamentary elections in Zvimba and GR Mugabe Housing Union in which Mudenda is a legal counsel.
Zhuwao’s co-operative, which was set up with the full backing of his late mother Sabina Mugabe – a sister to Mugabe – and the one linked to Mudenda are fighting to protect their respective territories with concerns both could be using Mugabe’s name for profit.
Apart from the name at issue is an allocation of 1 500 residential stands in Victoria Falls in which both co-operatives have laid claim, according to information obtained by Southern Eye.
There is a general consensus the Zhuwao’s group should limit its operations to Zvimba where it was formed and initially headquartered.
Documents in our possession show that Mudenda’s co-operative comprises former members of Zhuwao’s group who formed a rival co-operative after being fired for alleged fraud and other misdemeanors.
Information at hand indicates those fired from Zhuwao’s co-operative – some of them now executive members of the Mudenda linked co-operative – allegedly embezzled public funds after they registered some mines in their own names.
They were subsequently charged with misconduct and fired from the organisation. They later formed the GR Mugabe Housing Union.
The matter has also threatened to split the Hwange Rural District Council after the council’s chief executive officer Phindile Ncube last week withdrew an offer letter of 1 500 stands in Indlovu area on the outskirts of the resort town from GR Mugabe Housing Union.
This was done allegedly after complaints from Zhuwao’s co-operative, Gushungo Robert Mugabe Co-operative Society.
Unconfirmed reports point out that among the 1 500 stands, 300 of them had in 1984 been allocated to villagers as the government then planned to establish a growth-point, but the move was abandoned during the Gukurahundi era.
However, Ncube’s move has reportedly riled some officials in the rural development council among them the chairperson Spiwe Mafuwa, who is said to be against the withdrawal.
Mafuwa could not be reached for a comment yesterday as she was said to be attending a meeting in Victoria Falls. Mudenda and Zhuwao were also unreachable.
Contacted for comment on Friday, Ncube asked for e-mailed questions saying he was on leave.
However, when he was pressed on how he could have written a letter of withdrawal three days ago when he was on leave, Ncube could not commit himself. “I have no comment on that,” Ncube said.
Last year, the former Hwange Senator Grace Dube’s daughter, Siduduzile Zengeni, was slapped with a two-year jail term for duping members of the the Mudenda group in Victoria Falls of more than $8 000.
Dube is part of the Mudenda group’s technical advisory team.
Zengeni (33) and Vumani Siabolyo (30), both of Chinotimba suburb, were in February last year convicted of fraud by Victoria Falls resident magistrate Sharon Rosemani.
However, the court suspended 12 months of the sentence on condition of good behaviour and another six months were suspended on condition the pair pays restitution to the Mudenda group.
The remainder was also suspended on condition they completed 105 hours of community service at Mosi Oa Tunya Secondary School.
Charges against them were that sometime between October 2012 and January 23 2013, Zengeni and Siabolyo collected subscriptions worth $8 745 from the co-operative’s members and issued them with receipts from a stolen book and converted the money to their own use.