Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: They stole our billions and now have the cheek to promise billions

By Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka 

ED was the Minister of Defence between 2009 and 2013 when the army demanded claims in the Marange diamonds fields as the mafia comprising a well-connected political and military elite stole billions from our minerals under the mantra of sanctions-busting.

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye with Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka

The logic went along the lines that the country was under sanctions and Zimbabwe’s military could not buy military arsenal on the open market. The army needed its own diamond claims to enable the military to buy critical hardware and other essentials.

The Defence Minister was Emmerson Mnangagwa, the head of the military was Constantino Guvheya Nyikadzino Chiwenga and the minister of Mines was Obert Mpofu. That was the full cast of the cabal that ran the murky diamond industry and fleeced the country of billions in diamond revenue.

The then Finance Minister, Hon. Tendai Biti shouted himself hoarse complaining that that the proceeds from the country’s Marange diamonds were not coming into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Robert Mugabe kept mum while this murky lot continued looting in silence, with Obert Mpofu even buying a bank for millions of dollars in United States dollars.

Last week, after stealing billions of diamond proceeds from the country with his political and military friends several years ago, ED had the audacity to launch what he called a strategic roadmap to a $12 billion mining industry by 2023.

The cartel steals from you and then has the nerve to promise the nation probably less than what they stole!

No wonder the country is now down its knees. It’s cartels stupid!

This is the same Mnangagwa who brought one Owen Mudha Ncube into Cabinet; a mere thug who fronted ED’s mafia team called al Shabaab that is in the business of robbing small-scale miners of their gold in Kwekwe.  

Now the mafia is now at it again, having fleeced the country of billions of dollars through their murky racket that ran under the banner of sanctions-banning in Marange a few years ago.

No wonder nothing has happened to Obert Mpofu, despite him topping the list of corrupt goons that was released by the Zanu PF Youth League a few months ago. As Mines minister, Mpofu was at the centre of the civilian and military mafia that looted proceeds from the country’s diamond resources at a time when no penny was being remitted to Treasury.

Mnangagwa himself was personally behind the looting of DRC diamonds some 19 years ago. He is named in the UN Report on the Plundering of the Democratic Republic of the Congo natural resources, a report done by the UN Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146). The report names what it calls an “elite network” of politicians that was at the centre of plundering the resources of the DRC.

Named in the report are Emmerson Mnangagwa, then the Speaker of Parliament as well as Sibusiso Buso Moyo, then the director general of COSLEG, a Congo-Zimbabwe Joint Stock company that was a vehicle of the military-backed commerce involving mostly diamonds, banking and timber in the government-backed areas. The report also names Perrance Shiri, now Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement.

The damning UN report reads in part: “The key strategist of the Zimbabwe branch of the elite network is the Speaker of Parliament and former national security Minister Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa……..A long time ally of president Robert  Mugabe, Air Marshall Perrance Shiri has been involved in military procurement, and organizing air support for the pro-Kinshasa armed groups fighting in the eastern DRC………Other prominent members of the elite network include brigadier-general Sibusiso Busi Moyo, who is director-general of COSLEG. Brigadier Moyo advised both Tremalt and Oryx Natural Resources which represented covert Zimbabwean military and financial interests in negotiations with State mining companies of the DRC.”

Given this association in what the UN alleges to be criminal activities in the DRC some 16 years ago, it is no wonder that Mnangagwa picked Moyo to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs in his Cabinet. This is the same Moyo who became a news anchor overnight and announced the military take-over on state radio and television in the last hours of Mugabe’s reign.

Shiri is also now a Minister in the new administration

If one adds other shadowy characters named in the UN report—personalities that are friends with our current President, among them Ahmed Said Thamer al Shanfari and John Arnold Bredenkamp, then one begins to see that ED has always had an uncanny interest in shadowy deals involving mines and minerals!

The same UN report also implicates Sydney Sekeramayi. It was Sekeramayi who wrote a memorandum to Mugabe in 2002 proposing that a joint company between the ZDF and DRC be set up in Mauritius to disguise the nefarious military activities in the Congo. Given the revelations in the UN report and his links with this junta, it is by no means surprising that despite being touted as the G40 presidential candidate after Mugabe, Sekeramayi has been spared any form of arrest or harassment by the junta now in charge of the country.

Sekeramayi, who continues to sit in Mnangagwa’s Politburo despite losing his Ministerial post, remains a troublesome but delicate irritant, like a mosquito perched on the scrotum.

You have to be careful how you squash it or else you injure yourself!

Sekeramayi knows a lot and he can’t be harassed, even though the G40 team had framed him as a presidential frontrunner after Mugabe.

If one adds Kuda Tagwirei into the picture and the murky Command Agriculture programme, run for years by Mnangagwa and the top military brass and in which $3 billion disappeared without trace, then the nation has every reason to be very afraid when this crooked team starts talking about a $12 billion mining industry!

They stole billions worth of minerals in Zimbabwe and in the DRC. Now they are telling us they want a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023.

The figure could be less than what they have already stolen.

And this could be yet another avenue to have a second bite of the cherry.

Beware Zimbabwe; the mafia is in town!

Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka is the Deputy National Spokesperson of the MDC. He is a multiple award-winning journalist and an ardent political scientist. You can interact with him on Facebook or on the twitter handle @luke_tambo.