via Lacoste accuses Mugabe on diamonds cash – DailyNews Live Mugove Tafirenyika • 1 April 2016
MUTARE – Factional fighting in Zanu PF yesterday reached new levels when Members of Parliament (MPs) aligned to Team Lacoste, a faction fighting to have Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeed President Robert Mugabe, demanded to know whether the 90-year-old received $50 million which they said was pledged by Chiadzwa diamond miners.
Matters boiled over yesterday during a fact-finding mission by MPs in the Chiadzwa area when accusations and counter accusations started flying over diamonds revenue.
Team Lacoste MPs claimed that money donated to communities through Mugabe never found its way to the villagers bordering Marange diamond fields but the Generation 40 (G40) MPs, a faction which opposes Mnangagwa’s push to succeed Mugabe stood their ground and accused MPs aligned to the VP of trying to soil the image of the veteran leader.
But Team Lacoste MPs stood their ground and insisted that they wanted to know the whereabouts of the $50 million pledged to the community share ownership trust by diamond mining companies.
In 2012, Mugabe was presented with a $50 million dummy cheque in which the then minister of Indigenisation, Saviour Kasukuwere, said all the five diamond mining companies pledged to contribute $10 million each towards Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.
But the diamond companies later told Parliament that they had not pledged anything and so did not make any payments to Mugabe.
Trouble started when Chief Zimunya told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Indigenisation that his community believed that Mugabe had received the money which never saw its way to them.
“The name of the president has been soiled because the people think that he actually received the money but did not avail it to them. They do not think the cheque was not genuine but a real one yet none of them benefitted,” said Chief Zimunya.
And when the chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Indigenisation Justice Mayor Wadyajena, a fierce Mnangagwa loyalist and a member of the Team Lacoste faction tried to get more information from the chief, the G40 camp was not amused.
Zanu PF MPs Beatrice Nyamupinga and Keith Guzah protested accusing him of disrespecting Mugabe.
The duo accused Wadyajena of misrepresenting Zimunya’s words in order to score cheap political goals and soil the president’s reputation.
“I dispute what the chief said about the president. In fact he is not clear because he said the people think that the companies lied to the president at first now you chairman say the people think that the president was given the money. We heard you clearly chairman but we did not quite get it from the chief,” Nyamupinga protested with Guzah backing her.
But in his typical defiant fashion, Wadyajena stood his ground and warned his counterparts against intimidating the chief.
“Chief this is Parliament and you have not said anything wrong. You are protected, after all you are simply stating what your people are saying…Nyamupinga and …Guzah this is the last warning or I will eject you,” said Wadyajena.
In his response to Wadyajena, an unfazed Guzah said he is prepared to die for Mugabe in his defence.
“We are prepared to be ejected for the sake of the president. We cannot watch silently when you disrespect our president like this,” Guzah said.
But shooting from the hip Wadyajena, who recently pulled off the face of First Lady Grace from his car, accused the G40-aligned parliamentarians of trying to personalise Mugabe.
“Stop pretending to like the president more than others. He is our president too and there is no need to be emotional as what we are discussing is good for the people although it may be painful,” he said.
Zanu PF divisions are now manifesting themselves in all spheres as the battle to succeed Mugabe gathers pace with Mnangagwa’s allies now openly questioning the nonagenarian’s capacity to keep up with the rigours of his job as well as keep tabs on the goings-on in Zanu PF.
The committee will today hold public meetings with the Marange community.
Recently, Mugabe claimed during his birthday interview aired on ZTV, his government would take over all mining operations at the Chiadzwa diamond fields because the companies had not remitted all proceeds and claimed that up to $15 billion of diamond proceeds had been stolen, a figure questioned by diamond experts who believe that Marange diamonds are of low quality.