Chidakwa's job on the line

HARARE - Mines minister Walter Chidakwa is facing a major battle for his political career after it was revealed yesterday that Zanu PF hawks want his head on the chopping block for lying to President Robert Mugabe, the party and the nation about missing diamond revenue to the staggering tune of $15 billion.

The ominous news for Chidakwa also comes after the government controversially decided to appropriate all Marange diamond claims earlier this year — amid claims that this was part of Zanu PF’s brutal factional and succession wars.

To add to the under-fire minister’s headache, it was also recently announced that the government’s Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), which took over from Chiadzwa diamond companies such as Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinan and Kusena, had sacked its top management for maladministration and incompetence.

Among those fired were chief executive Mark Mabhudhu, mineral and exploration manager Takawira Zhou, finance director Stewart Musekiwa and human resources director Desire Jam.

This was after the company only managed to remit a reported paltry $1 million to Treasury in May from the sale of 120 000 carats, contrary to what Chidakwa had promised last month when he said Zimbabwe could produce one million carats of diamonds per month and earn the country $800 million in dividends annually.

Senior Zanu PF and Mines ministry officials who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said Chidakwa’s failure to do sufficient research on the missing diamond revenue, as well as the operations of ZCDC, was not only an embarrassment to the government, but had also left the minister “exposed”.

“Everyone is seriously concerned that with the 2018 elections around the corner, there won’t be enough resources for campaigning,” said a Zanu PF official with close ties to the military.

“It is now clear that the closure of Marange diamond companies has worsened the cash situation in the country, as well as compromised government’s ability to pay civil servants,” the bigwig added.

Another official claimed that Mugabe was, as a result, under pressure to replace Chidakwa “with someone who understands the mining industry and with the capacity to mobilise resources”.

“Several government ministers are lobbying for the return of (Obert) Mpofu to the ministry. Despite his own weaknesses, Mpofu had the party at heart as he made sure we had enough resources for the 2013 elections,” the second source said.

A Mines ministry official also told the Daily News that “the chaos happening in the sector is reflecting very negatively on the ministry and the government”.

“The problem with the minister and his permanent secretary (Francis Gudyanga) is that they do not consult widely, and also rarely take suggestions from technocrats. For instance, while consolidation was not a bad idea, the way it was rushed through without proper consultation is a disaster,” the official said.

There are also claims that Chidakwa refused to rope in global audit and advisory firms such as Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers to help calibrate a viable model for ZCDC and the industry.

The Centre for Research and Development (CRD) also said earlier this year that it was concerned that the government had started the consolidation process without undertaking necessary due diligence processes.

“We are deeply concerned that prior to the merger, government has not instituted independent audits on all mining operations in Marange where government is a major shareholder.

“There is also no feedback from the minister of Mines on the order he gave to mining companies to submit audited financial reports to government in June 2015.

“Audited reports on Marange diamonds were critical to provide direction to the mergers if the issue of transparency and accountability was to be of priority to government,” the Farai Maguwu-led pressure group said.

On his part, Enoch Sithole of the National Union of Mines, Quarry, Iron and Steel Workers of Zimbabwe told the Daily News that the union had also written to Chidakwa to register its disapproval of establishing the consolidated government diamond company.

“A member from a sister union has even written to the minister regarding the way the company is being run. As it stands, and in terms of the Labour Relations Act, they were not supposed to dismiss workers, yet we hear people are being let go randomly,” he said.

Economist Vince Musewe said ZCDC was set to keep under-performing until new leadership came into power.

“We know Zimbabwe has 82 State enterprises all of which are making losses, are marred in corruption and are under-performing. Why then would we be surprised that another parastatal is under-performing?

“The parastatal is systematically failing just like the other State-owned enterprises because there is need for new leadership from the Head of State level to ministerial appointments, all the way down so that we see change and improvement at the newly-formed company,” he said.

Comments (14)

Several Government ministers are lobbying for the return of The most Obedient Son because of his experience in corrupt deals.

Mukanya - 7 June 2016

Muzukuru waGuzshungo uyo haayende zvekumhanya.

Sir Weak Nail - 7 June 2016

First and foremost,it is rather disheartening for some Zimbabweans to try and blow this whole issue about the so called 15 billion missing out of proportion. There was never any audit done to confirm that indeed such a large sum of money was stolen.The president mentioned that figure to try and illustrate that Zimbabwe could have lost a lot of money in the dimond mining as there were undervalued and some companies did not declare the actual diamonds mined.The figure could be far less or even more but the important thing is that the President was trying to justify why dimond companies must be merged into one .period. In English Literature there is what is called figure of speech. If I say so or so has moved mountains it does not mean that person took a shovel and literally dug a mountain .NO. i may be referring to someone who has done wonders in his life.And we now have people saying we want a share of that 15 billion.Munoti makadzidza ma Zimbabweans wani.

gustavov - 7 June 2016

First and foremost,it is rather disheartening for some Zimbabweans to try and blow this whole issue about the so called 15 billion missing out of proportion. There was never any audit done to confirm that indeed such a large sum of money was stolen.The president mentioned that figure to try and illustrate that Zimbabwe could have lost a lot of money in the dimond mining as there were undervalued and some companies did not declare the actual diamonds mined.The figure could be far less or even more but the important thing is that the President was trying to justify why dimond companies must be merged into one .period. In English Literature there is what is called figure of speech. If I say so or so has moved mountains it does not mean that person took a shovel and literally dug a mountain .NO. i may be referring to someone who has done wonders in his life.And we now have people saying we want a share of that 15 billion.Munoti makadzidza ma Zimbabweans wani.

gustavov - 7 June 2016

million march and the hoolabaloowing sell quail birds mr chidhakwa diamond rakunetsai.cabinet must resign en mase

CHIDAKWA MUDIKI JNR - 7 June 2016

HAENDI ZVE SPEED MUZUKURU WEVAKURU ANODIWA NAMBUYA ZVEKUTI FEE

CHINYORHI - 7 June 2016

It is sad to note that a lot of Zimbabweans think that President Mugabe himself is a saint and all the people around him are evil and corrupt. The President is the CEO of the country and if he employs incompetent people then he is also incompetent in his capacity as CEO and must be dismissed. Food for thought.

John Banda - 7 June 2016

It is sad to note that a lot of Zimbabweans think that President Mugabe himself is a saint and all the people around him are evil and corrupt. The President is the CEO of the country and if he employs incompetent people then he is also incompetent in his capacity as CEO and must be dismissed. Food for thought.

John Banda - 7 June 2016

Walter is drunk, just like his name suggests.

machakachaka - 7 June 2016

@gustavov it wasn't a figure of speech but a statement of fact known not only in Zimbabwe but as far as Japan. Who doesn't know that Mugabe is the head of the mafia club masquerading as a govt? The best thing he should is to resign and the entire cabinet as well

mallorytk - 7 June 2016

@gustavov. You saying 15 Billion USD mentioned by the president is a figure of speech ? Yet you go on to say it could be more or less. There is no figure of speech intended here; rather you could say its an estimate (which every Jack and Jill understand); an for that no audit is required. Never mind his ulterior motive for mentioning the figure, if any, what we know from our estimates the actual value embezzled is by far more than that.

Masamba Akareyo - Tanganda - 7 June 2016

@gustanov are you now the presidential spokesperson? When you mention an amount you're giving data - if you want to generalise avoid figures. But even so, bottom line is money was lost/stolen. What is your god doing about it? We hear the police spokesperson rattling a lot about $87k recovered but is mum on billions. Only fools can buy your con tricks.

Sagitarr - 8 June 2016

"he made sure we had enuf resources for 2013 elections"...guys can not even separate gvt resources from zanu resources. shame.

igy - 8 June 2016

@Gustavov you are saying what you want the President to hear but we all know that far more than that was siphoned away by the violence degreed looters. The former finance chief of the GPA gorvenment era once said there wasn't any penny coming to the state coffers yet we knew that shovels were busy and small planes taking off from Chiadzwa. The truth is what was taken to and is still being taken to Singapore on the pretext of medicals is much more than $15Billion

Tavak Zhou - 8 June 2016

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