Manicaland miners, executive clash

Affilliates of the Manicaland Miners’ Association (MMA) are up in arms with the elected executive over the manner in which its February 15 elections were conducted.

Members are alleging gross violation of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation affiliate after it elected an alleged ex-convict — Godfrey Kombo — unopposed while he is also accused of having staffed the district electoral college that chose him with his associates.

They also allege that gold dealers are getting into key positions and representing miners at key fora. Those now pushing for Kombo’s ouster over his criminal record hardly a month after his ascendancy include Youth in Mining, Penhalonga Miners Association and a group of Odzi miners among others from across the province.

The association disqualifies anyone with a criminal record from holding office. Section 4; 9: 1 subsection b of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation states that “any member engaged in competition with the Federation or is involved in acts of an illegal or fraudulent nature or acts that bring the name of the Federation into disrepute is not eligible to contest in any position in the board”.

Kombo had several brushes with the law dating back to 2012, leading to his conviction in 2014 at Mutare Magistrates’ Courts under case number 3936/12 and was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment over a $40 000 fraud for which he is out on bail pending appeal.

Kombo is also at the centre of a wrangle between Ernest Lekani and his wife Mercy Tendai Mambure fighting to save their house from being auctioned after Kombo who sold it to them went on to take a loan against its title deeds, leading to one commercial bank seeking an order to auction it to recover its money.

They made an urgent High Court application HH 115-17 & HC 819/17 to save their house. He is also currently facing an outstanding case involving tax he allegedly failed to remit his former Buffalo Hardware company employees’ pay as you earn deductions. He is being tried under case number 3937/12.

Efforts to get comment from Kombo were fruitless by the time of going to press. Letters written to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation disputing the electoral process which this paper is in possession of reads: “The Odzi group of miners are seeking clarification on the nomination of executive members for Manicaland this year.

“According to what we heard we seem not to be involved in selecting members who will lead us this year.  “We were hoping the nomination will also give us the right to vote as per the constitution. Members fear that there seems to be underhand imposition of office bearers.”

Another letter from Youth in Mining reads: “We as the youths that are mining within Manicaland Province, we are not happy at all with the way things are being done to conduct elections. “It is not the first time we have seen injustice within this organisation on the issue of gold buying licences.

“We were surprised to see gold dealers given gold licences and going to workshops on our behalf…
“Since 2012, we have been affiliating and some dealers want to come and represent us why, why, with all due respect MMA executive you have failed us as youths. 

“We should elect our own representatives not you.”