Mugabe under fire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe has come under blistering attack from anti-graft campaigners and analysts for failing to do his homework after publicly lynching  former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa when he was innocent.

This comes in the wake of the veteran leader’s major and embarrassing U-turn, exonerating Masimirembwa for allegedly soliciting a $6 million bribe from Ghanaian investors in the Gye Nyame Resources (GNR) diamond concession deal.

In his annual interview with State television beamed on Thursday night, Mugabe said Ghanaian investors, William Atto Essien and Kingsley Ghansah, had lied to his government.

When the Zanu PF leader  in September “outed” the Mabvuku-Tafara parliamentary aspirant for taking money from Essien’s Bill Minerals (Bill), he banged the podium, betraying the intensity of his emotions on the issue.

Loughty Dube, Transparency International Zimbabwe chairperson, said the president was not serious about tackling graft.

“There is no political will to deal with graft,” Dube said.

“The first case involved Masimirembwa and nothing happened. This explains why Zimbabwe is ranked number 3 on the corruption index in Africa and this shows just how bad we are.”

Mugabe’s U-turn has brought to the fore questions over the quality of information he receives, and the information fed to him by cronies who surround him.

Hopewell Gumbo, executive director of Zimbabwe Conference on Reconstruction and Development, said as head of State, Mugabe does not have room for allowing lies.

“Mugabe’s statement on Masimirembwa casts doubt on Zanu PF sincerity on dealing with corruption,” Gumbo said.

“This only calls for ordinary Zimbabweans, who are affected by corruption to stand up and fight and show that they do not condone it.”

Opposition leader Job Sikhala said: “Mugabe is just being tossed around by people around him who are now taking advantage of his senility to misinform and play around with his mind.

“He was frothing against Masimirembwa yesterday only to do a 180 degrees turn in a few days down the line.”

As Zimbabweans tried to digest the meaning, and implications of the latest revelations, attention has shifted to government’s vetting methods or processes of its investment partners, especially in view of Mugabe’s stinging remarks and assessment of Ghansah.

In the interview, the Zanu PF leader made it abundantly clear that Essien and company were of a dubious background, and his partner was involved in some really unsavoury activities, including gold smuggling, which led to his five-year conviction in April last year, as first revealed by the Daily News.

Crucially, Mugabe suggested that the Ghanaian “tycoon” was not entirely honest about his banking credentials and had reportedly used his First Capital Plus micro-finance company in Harare to further his usurious activities here.

Again this was revealed by the Daily News during the paper’s investigation into the scam.

During the interview, Mugabe said the two Ghanaians lied to his government.

“I was persuaded to allow Ghanaians zvichinzi, aah! vane (I was informed they had..) capacity. One of them was said to be the owner of a bank,” Mugabe said.

“Twakatinyepera twuvakomana itwotwo. (They lied to us). You see, liars. In the meantime they did not bring any money at all. Even iya yataiti yakatorwa naMasimirembwa. (Even the money we said was extorted by Masimirembwa) No! They had given the story kuti they had brought some money. Was it US$5 million or US$6 million, yakatorwa (which was taken)?”

“They were busy here smuggling gold and selling it vachitova ne (in collaboration) arrangement neSouth African group and that is why one of the two was arrested.“The other one pleaded innocent and said he was ignorant. He was not related to the one that was arrested. Kutinyepera. (they lied).

That the one who was arrested is a brother except that baba ndovakasiyana chete. (they have different fathers).

“Now we discover they did not bring anything, we discover that he does not own a bank he claimed he had.
“Yes, he was a director in a bank, Ecobank in Ghana, but he does not own it. Takamuti come now zvikanzi mapurisa anoda kundisunga.(We invited him here and he claimed police wanted to arrest them).

“Vanokusungirei? (they have no reason to arrest you) You are protected. The lies he has told.”

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