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Jonathan Moyo allergic to the truth: Mawere

By Mutumwa Mawere

Africa’s future will always belong to builders rather than professional armchair commentators who choose to see the world in ideological and binary terms. One such commentator is Professor Jonathan Moyo, the MP for Tsholotsho North (Zanu PF), who seems to believe that he is an expert in interpreting all historical events.

It was not surprising that after last week’s unprecedented events that saw Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa unsuccessfully attempt to stop the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development from taking evidence from me, followed by a decision to pay the Herald to advertise the letter he had written to the Speaker of Parliament requesting that the Committee’s work should be suspended as the matters before it were sub judice, and finally the mischievous attempt by Chinamasa using his parliamentary privilege to deal with the very matters that he had earlier determined to be sub judice,  Moyo would enter the fray in a convoluted manner with a twisted political angle on the same issue.

In an article published by the Sunday Mail on Sunday, November 21, 2010, entitled “MDC-T creating chaos for survival”, Moyo argued that the unfortunate conduct of Chinamasa was a creation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Moyo would be well aware that the same Committee heard evidence from the state appointed Administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba, only a few weeks ago and yet Chinamasa did not see any logic in stopping the hearing.

It was startling that Chinamasa sought to argue before Parliament that it is important to hear both sides when through his conduct he has consistently refused to allow me to present my side. Moyo would no doubt be aware of the difference between presentations made before a Committee of Parliament and before the House. Only members of Parliament have the privilege to make presentations before the House whereas a Committee of Parliament has an obligation to gather facts from all parties.

For the record, I did not invite myself to appear before the Committee.  Hon. Chindori-Chininga, who is a member of Zanu PF and not the MDC, chairs the Committee. Why then would Moyo want to opportunistically characterise the work of the Committee as partisan? When Shabanie Mashaba Mines was placed under reconstruction using the state of emergency powers in 2004, Moyo was a member of the cabinet and was appointed on the Committee on SMM. His connection with Chinamasa, with respect to the succession dynamics in Zanu PF, is well known and documented.

Chinamasa knew very well that his attempt to respond to planted questions in Parliament was meant to give him a propaganda opportunity while claiming that the SMM matter was sub judice. Chinamasa has resorted to using the media to advertise his propaganda. Why would a Minister of Justice seek to pay for advertisement if he respects the rule of law? Perhaps Moyo knows who is the true author and financier of the expensive advertisements. Even Moyo would agree that the contents of the four advertisements that have been issued by Chinamasa are not only malicious, but also defamatory.

I have chosen not to use the same cheap tactics. The issue of SMM is not personal. The company was a significant foreign currency earner as well as an important employer. Jobs have evaporated while Chinamasa believes that this matter ought not to be discussed in the public. However, it is evident that Moyo cannot distinguish between personal and national issues because his DNA is more often powered by the belief that in every dispute there must be a political point to score.

Equally, Moyo, an important ally of Chinamasa, believes that the SMM matter is about an individual, forgetting that many lives have been affected by the decisions and actions of various state actors including him. The MDC was not in government when SMM was placed under the control of a state appointed administrator whose appointment was done without the involvement of the courts. I should like to believe that there is no such thing as the ‘Mawere saga’, rather, this matter involves the use of state power to interfere with private property rights.

Moyo would no doubt know that if the state were a creditor in SMM, there would have been no need to create new laws to protect it. The law must be applied equally, yet the facts of the SMM matter would show that the government put in place a law with retrospective application and more significantly that allowed the state to assume unilaterally and arbitrarily the claims of separate juristic persons like ZESA, RBZ and ZIMRA. To Moyo, the world is composed of binary entities i.e. MDC versus Zanu PF.  In his mind, there is no national interest.

What interest would be served if only the voice of Moyo, Nathaniel Manheru, Chinamasa, Edwin Manikai and Arafas Gwaradzimba is heard? When the Portfolio Committee visited Shabanie and Mashaba Mines, they saw with their own eyes what tragedy has unfolded in the name of national interest at the time. Moyo would no doubt be aware that when SMM was taken by force in 2004, I was a shareholder and yet Chinamasa would like to confuse the public into believing that my shareholding evaporated with reconstruction.

It is common cause that I was first specified before the companies deemed to be under my control were specified and subsequently placed under the control of an administrator. Now that I have been de-specified, the question that ought to occupy the minds of people like Moyo is whether a specified person’s assets can be dealt with in terms of a law that did not exist at the time the person was specified. What is even more significant is whether SMM was state-indebted, let alone insolvent. Any rational mind would know that a creditor has no standing to declare the insolvency of a debtor.

This is a matter for the Court to decide, and yet in the SMM matter, the doors of the judiciary were closed as part of the enterprise to dispossess me. The matter of the ownership of SMM was decided in the UK litigation where AMG Global Nominees Private Limited (AMG), a nominee of the government of Zimbabwe, sought unsuccessfully to be registered as the shareholder of SMM Holdings Limited (SMMH), the sole shareholder of SMM. AMG unsuccessfully appealed against the decision of the High Court.

So, this matter has been resolved, and yet Chinamasa has the audacity to contemptuously state that AMG is the sole shareholder of SMMH. The question of the legality or otherwise of the acquisition of SMM has been dealt with in the UK litigation and the finding of the Court is that there was no law violated by either the construction of performance of the agreement between the parties. What is outstanding before the Courts has nothing to do with the ownership of SMM.

It must be accepted that the law that permitted the state to assume the control and management of a private company using extra judicial means exist and this must be a cause of concern for all democrats including Moyo. The importance of ensuring that the public is fully informed about what happened in the SMM matter cannot be overstated. When SMM was placed under the control of the administrator, Chinamasa was in charge of administering both the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Reconstruction laws that explains why I would never have been de-specified if he was still in charge of administering both acts.

It is evident that notwithstanding my de-specification, Chinamasa holds the view that his colleagues erred in revoking the specification order. I, therefore, remain guilty as charged by Chinamasa. For the record, the main application that has already been heard by the Supreme Court seeks to challenge the constitutional validity of the Reconstruction Law. This application does not raise any factual disputes leaving the Portfolio Committee to deal with the complex factual issues of the matter. Accordingly, it would be wrong for Moyo to conclude that the hearing that took place undermined the constitutional and institutional stability of Zimbabwe.

He must be challenged to explain precisely how the stability is affected and how the role of Parliament to provide the oversight role can be balanced with the approach that says only the courts can be involved in resolving national issues. The SMM matter raised key constitutional, legal, commercial and political issues that must be addressed transparently without any intimidation. Obviously, Chinamasa has no appetite for any transparency because he has arrogated to himself the power to be the judge, prosecutor, shareholder, and creditor.

The Deputy Speaker and the Clerk were right to stop Chinamasa from turning the House into a circus. It is important that Chinamasa gives evidence to the Committee as we all have done so that the Committee, being independent, can make its own conclusions about the SMM matter. Moyo will no doubt be aware that there is no connection between the perceived election strategies of the MDC and the SMM matter. Why then would he like to establish a connection that does not exist except in a warped mind?

Moyo must be reminded that there is a lot that can be achieved by exposing the truth in moving Zimbabwe forward. I am aware that people like him have an allergy for the truth. They benefit from a monologue rather than a dialogue of equal players. Perhaps in our time and generation, Moyo will rise above the partisan silo that his analysis is founded to see the world not in binary terms but as a complex interaction of forces.

It is not uncharacteristic for Moyo to make outrageous statements like: “In any event, if there is anybody who really believes that Mawere ever had on his own the wherewithal to lawfully acquire the so-called SMM empire, then that person needs to have their head examined by a competent psychiatrist”. The Committee that is mandated to look at the SMM matter was privileged with the relevant information about the acquisition of SMM and more specifically how the deal was structured and financed.

It is common cause that SMM was a privately owned company whose sole shareholder was domiciled in the UK. Nothing has changed and it is surprising that Moyo would then make the conclusion that a vendor-financed deal needed any political assistance. The vendor was situated in the UK. The deal was concluded between two willing parties and Moyo was not involved in the transaction and yet he would like to engage in hallucinations.

If the educated people behave as if they are not educated, then the uneducated have no hope. I can only pray for Africa’s future if the minds that dominate conversations of the day are infantile at a time when serious discourse is needed to chart a new direction not only for Zimbabwe but also for the continent. The need to improve Africa’s moral capital is more evident after reading Moyo’s article. It also becomes more urgent when a Minister of Justice behaves as if he is a Minister of Injustice.

The truth can never be poisonous. In fact, the nation will benefit from the truth that Chinamasa believes is an enemy. If the MDC have had any part to play in exposing Chinamasa’s unacceptable behaviour, then we all ought to pause and congratulate all who believe that the future of Zimbabwe is more secure if the actions of state players are informed by the kind of values that inspired many to fight against the colonial state.