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Zanu PF MPs accuse top company of helping Mugabe ‘coup’ plotters

By Irwin Chifera

The political clean-up in Zanu PF following the ousting of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies is continuing with lawmakers now taking aim at companies perceived to have supported Mrs. Mujuru or members of her team.

Didymus Mutasa and Joice Mujuru
Didymus Mutasa and Joice Mujuru

Zanu PF lawmakers Thursday quizzed Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe bosses over allegations that the sugar-producing giant had sponsored politicians who are being accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe and replace him with his former deputy.

Appearing before the National Assembly’s Indigenization committee to discuss the company’s black empowerment plans, managing director Sydney Mutsambiwa was quizzed for allegedly supporting ousted Zanu PF ministers said to be in Mrs.

Mujuru’s camp, in particular former Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire and former Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti. Zanu PF lawmakers maintained the ousted Mrs. Mujuru and her colleagues were plotting to topple President Mugabe.

Some, like Makoni West Member of Parliament, Kudzi Chipanga, even suggested the two politicians were shareholders in the company and using their influence to support Mrs. Mujuru’s quest to eliminate President Mugabe.

But Mutsambiwa said the two were not shareholders in the company, adding that Tongaat Hullets had never funded any “nefarious or subversive activities”.

He, however, said the company had made financial contributions towards the hosting of Zanu PF’s December congress after being approached by Bhasikiti in his official capacity as Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister.

Mutsambiwa said the company has supported Zanu PF for many years with the money being deposited in the ruling party’s head office account.

He, however, did not reveal how much the company has been forced to put into Zanu PF coffers. Companies have over the years complained of being forced to contribute towards Zanu PF activities in cash and kind, especially over the past decade.

Mutsambiwa said the company had submitted its indigenization plan, adding it has not yet complied with the empowerment law which compels foreign-owned companies to cede 51 percent shareholding to blacks.

At present local blacks own 34.4 percent of the company.

Mutsambiwa said Tongaat Hullets was expecting to earn empowerment credits from the many socio-economic development products the firm is undertaking in the area it operates, to reach the 51 percent threshold.

Some of the projects the company is working on include the upgrading and repair of the Chiredzi town water reticulation works, construction of roads, schools, revamping of Buffalo Range Airport and several other local projects, which Mutsambiwa said have so far gobbled $3 million.

He said the company is of the view that the indigenization law must be reviewed as in its currents state, is scaring away investors. VOA (Studio 7)