via Kasukuwere must explain The Fingaz 22 May 2014
LAST week, we were taken by surprise when Parliament barred former empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere from giving an explanation on how he handled controversial community share ownership schemes in Marange. Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, said since Kasukuwere left the ministry, he no longer had the obligation to explain how he handled issues involving the country’s resources, in this case, diamonds.
The question that arises now is: who should explain how Kasukuwere arrived at the decisions that he made? Why should Parliament force his successor to speak when Kasukuwere is there? Already, there have been conflicting statements coming out of the five diamond mining firms in Marange. They have said they were neither approached about the share ownership trusts, nor did they pledge the US$10 million each that Kasukuwere claimed would come from them.
The whole diamonds affair has not generated the real benefits for the ordinary people who live side by side with the rich fields as they are wallowing in poverty. The State has failed to put in place institutions to ensure that everyone benefits from this God given resource, especially at this time, when the economy is on its knees. On the contrary, Zimbabwe’s diamonds have been bankrolling the expansion of global metropolitans.
This is why we implore Parliament to reconsider its decision on Kasukuwere and recall him to give a full explanation about the goings on in the mines concerned. We say so because the longer it takes for Zimbabwe to be furnished with important answers to the myriad of questions haunting the diamond region of Zimbabwe, the harder it will become for the country to pick up the pieces and right whatever could have been done wrong.
The longer it takes, the richer the politically-connected will become because shadowy deals are usually catalysts to the salting away of wealth to safe havens for their own benefit. The information that Kasukuwere is sitting on is vital, for we need to chart the way forward on how communities in Marange can benefit from diamonds. That is not possible if Parliament just decides to shield ministers from appraising the public about how resources are being managed.
We feel that by blocking Kasukuwere from appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Empowerment, and trying to pass on the duty to his successor, Parliament is making a big mistake. It has failed in its oversight role of making those entrusted with the stewardship of important portfolios accountable. We suspect that through this confusion, those instigating the confusion are protecting their selfish interests.
Once those in power start twisting and massaging facts, looting of absurd proportions follows. There has been a dearth of checks and balances, accountability and oversight in our troubled economy. We take great exception to the fact that by acting in the manner Parliament has done, unaccountable individuals know they can go scot free if they mess up.We cannot create princes in a country that has no monarchy. Even dynasties do not act as they please.