Thursday, 27 October 2016

KASUKUWERE : I WILL DEFEND MYSELF

LOCAL Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday said he welcomed any scrutiny of the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT) and was ready to answer any queries.

A damning report presented in the National Assembly on Tuesday by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, accused the Zanu PF political commissar of deceiving President Robert Mugabe that $50 million had been pledged for the Zimunya-Marange CSOT.

The report by the committee, led by Kasukuwere’a long-time nemesis, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, also recommended that the former Indigenisation minister be investigated for possible criminal abuse of office.

The committee alleges Kasukuwere misled Mugabe, who presented a dummy $1,5m cheque to the Zimunya-Marange CSOT, putting his name into disrepute.

But Kasukuwere yesterday tweeted: “Marange: Past, present and future conduct scrutiny welcome. $1,5 million, I will answer.”

Asked to clarify his tweet and whether his statement implied that he was ready to defend himself, he said: “Yes, I have to dispel the malice.”

Kasukuwere is believed to be a key member of the G40 faction that is battling a rival group linked to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa dubbed Team Lacoste.

He and Wadyajena, believed to be in Mnangagwa’s faction, have faced off on various occasions over the Zimunya-Marange CSOT, and observers are clear that the antagonism is factional.

But Centre for Research and Development director, Farai Maguwu said as along as the committee’s report did not state how the military and other senior Zanu PF officials looted diamond revenue, then it was “nonsense”.

“As Zimbabweans, we risk being dragged into the internal Zanu PF factional fights and lose focus of making sure that this government accounts for the missing diamond money. Targeting an individual like Kasukuwere is misleading the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We need to know the involvement of the military in the Marange mining fields. It is unfortunate that we, as Zimbabweans, are falling into the Zanu PF factional trap and abetting them to carry on their own contradictions and internal squabbles.”

Maguwu said the current so-called anti-corruption fight was not genuine.

“We want an independent commission to look into the Marange scandal and not this faction-driven so-called probe. We are more worried about the people that looted our money and not their factional fights being disguised as an anti-corruption probe,” he said.

Recently, Wadyajena set his sights on Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, another G40 member, targeting him for grilling in Parliament over the alleged abuse of over $400 000 belonging to the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.

Yesterday, expelled Zanu PF youth leader, Godfrey Tsenengamu said he was now looking forward to a by-election in Mt Darwin, as he believed the Local Government minister deserved sacking over the CSOT scandal. newsday

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