Diamonds probe rattles Zanu PF

HARARE - The ongoing probe into alleged diamond money looting in Manicaland has rattled Zanu PF with the party now barring members from seeking donations ahead of President Robert Mugabe’s birthday.

Manicaland provincial chairperson Mike Madiro along with four other Zanu PF provincial officials are embroiled in a $750 000 diamond fraud case after they allegedly sourced cash from diamond mining firms and pocketed the money.

Mugabe has already asked the police to investigate the matter.

With Mugabe’s birthday a few weeks away, the 21st Movement on Tuesday last week launched its fundraising campaign but has barred other party functionaries from collecting donations on behalf of the movement following the Manicaland debacle.

Annually Zanu PF youths are dispatched around the country to help raise funds for Mugabe’s bash, but the diamond probe has put a stop to the old custom amid fears that the party could be exposed even more, analysts have said.

Teachers in rural areas are often forced to make donations to Zanu PF members for occasions such as Mugabe’s birthday bash.

Absalom Sikhosana, Zanu PF’s secretary for youth says party activists are now barred from seeking donations on behalf of Zanu PF.

“We want to have it as tight as possible because we do not want to bring the name of the movement into disrepute.

“In order to instil confidence in the exercise, only those who have been identified will spearhead the fundraising. This year’s fundraising committee will be chaired by Comrade Johnson Masawi while each of the 10 provinces is expected to have one focal point coordinating the fundraising,” said Sikhosana.

Analysts say Zanu PF is rattled by the display of dirty linen in public and is now seeking to preen its image ahead of a watershed election.

They said if junior members in Manicaland can extort such huge amounts from companies, politburo members and cabinet ministers should be getting far much more.

“Not only is the party rattled by the revealing probe, but the collection of money is extortion because in the majority of cases Zanu PF activists will be intimidating companies.

“In relationship with Marange, it is not only about Zanu PF but the exposure of these companies. If low ranking officials could collect such amounts how much then will politburo members or cabinet ministers get?,” asked Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

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