Mugabe’s parliamentary hearing postponed

Kudzai Mashininga in Harare

Zimbabwe’s Parliament has delayed a scheduled hearing for the country’s former president Robert Mugabe over diamond corruption initially, citing the absence of key members attending a Pan African Parliament session in neighbouring South Africa.

Mugabe was due to appear in Parliament on Wednesday 9 May.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE ― Zimbabwe’s parliament summons Mugabe over diamond corruption

Mugabe’s appearance before the Mines and Mining Development Committee, the first time that he will be forced to account for his actions while in charge of the country, is now expected to be within the next two weeks.

The former president ruled the country for nearly four decades before being forced from office in November last year and his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has pledged to crack down on corruption.

The country’s Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda and Mines and Energy committee chairperson Temba Mliswa are among those who are attending the Pan African Parliament session in South Africa.

In an interview from South Africa, Mliswa said Mugabe is not off the hook yet.

“First of all, he is still coming. We have recommended and resolved that he comes as the parliamentary committee on mines and energy because we feel that the report cannot be concluded without his input, that is one thing that you must understand. Secondly, I am away, and the speaker and many people are away because of the Pan African Parliament elections which are going on in South Africa,” Mliswa told the Mail and Guardian.

“He will be called, definitely he is coming. There is no way that he can’t come. When we get back next week or the week after he will be able to come. We will give him 10 days’ notice and the clerk of Parliament will write the letter, so he is coming.”

Political analyst and Tshwane University of Technology senior lecturer Rick Mukonza said there is a possibility of behind the scenes negotiations for Mugabe to dodge parliament.

“if he ends up not coming, the development will militate against the new regime’s efforts to present itself as a reformed government that has transparency and accountability as its core values,” said Mukonza.

Zimbabwe’s vast diamond wealth has been largely squandered through mismanagement and corruption. Even Mugabe himself once admitted that some $15-billion in diamond revenue remains unaccounted for.

READ MORE: Illicit diamond fortune props up Mugabe’s regime

Powerful political figures have appeared before the parliamentary mines committee in recent months to account for the missing diamond billions and Mugabe is expected to be the last among those the committee want to quiz.

Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, former state security minister Didymus Mutasa, former police minister Ignatius Chombo and others have already appeared before the committee.

Last month, former mines secretary Francis Gudyanga appeared before the committee and said his life was under threat from “dark forces” if he discloses what he knows about diamond-related corruption.

Testimony from top security officials has confirmed long-standing reports that security agencies such as the Central Intelligence Organisation and the Zimbabwe Republic Police at times used diamond mining to fund their operations. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces, which has previously been implicated in serious human rights abuses at the Marange diamond fields, including the killing of civilians, has not heeded calls to appear before the committee.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Kudzai Mashininga
Kudzai Mashininga

Mashininga is an experienced Zimbabwean journalist.

Advertisting

LIVESTREAM: Ramaphosa addresses a locked down nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa is scheduled to address the nation on the measures currently being undertaken to contain the coronavirus pandemic

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories