Pressure mounts on Kasukuwere
PARLIAMENT is ratcheting up pressure on ZANU-PF’s firebrand political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, over his role in empowerment deals that he sanctioned some years back while he was minister of youth, indigenisation and economic empowerment.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment has summoned representatives from Zimplats, Mimosa, Unki, Blanket Mine and Lafarge Cement to appear before it today to give oral evidence as the committee continues to dig into past transactions by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB), which operated under Kasukuwere.
NIEEB was mandated by government to spearhead the process of transforming the peripheral role of the indigenous majority in the country’s economy to a leading role in the mainstream economy.
The deals were handled by a consultancy outfit called Brainworks Capital Management, which has since appeared before Parliament alleging that it was never paid a cent for stitching the US$1,8 billion-worth of deals between government, on the one hand, and Zimplats, Mimosa, Unki and Blanket Mine, on the other.
When Kasukuwere, appeared before the committee last week, the hearing degenerated into a verbal war between him and the committee chairman, Mayor Wadyajena, whom Kasukuwere accused of seeking his political downfall.
The verbal spat clearly exposed the infighting in ZANU-PF linked to President Robert Mugabe’s succession.
The succession ructions have since claimed the scalps of more than 140 individuals who include the country’s former vice president Joice Mujuru.
Kasukuwere, believed to be linked to what has become known as Generation 40 or G40, has courted the ire of the old guard in the ruling party over the manner in which he has been conducting the party’s restructuring process, which has reportedly catapulted his proxies into positions of influence in the provinces.
But some analysts are saying politics aside, Parliament was merely exercising its oversight role by probing NIEEB’s several past indigenisation deals that could have prejudiced the country.
“This is the proper role of Parliament. Parliament is doing an excellent job. If you read politics in all this, then you are undervaluing the role of Parliament. If they (Wadyajena committee) are able to demonstrate that Kasukuwere erred, then he should honourably resign. Parliament has the power to expose and appeal to the conscience of those involved to honourably resign,” said constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku.
Political analysis, Ibbo Mandaza, said much as the Parliament’s portfolio committees were essential they should not be reduced to agents for witch-hunts, as Kasukuwere has since alleged, pertaining to his case.
“I have difficulty ascertaining any possible corruption being linked to Kasukuwere because it has been more of rumours. In Zimbabwe, there is lots of corruption but there are also numerous rumours of corruption, yet there are concrete issues such as the ‘salary gate’ and the auditor-general’s reports where there is documented evidence of corruption which no one is doing anything about,” said Mandaza.
For more than a year now, the issue of community share ownership schemes (CSOs) that were sanctioned by Kasukuwere has been topical with very little progress in bringing these to fruition.
This has heightened speculation that internal fights in ZANU-PF might have contributed to lethargy on the part of government to ensure that foreign owned companies comply with their CSOs’ undertakings.
The insistence by Wadyajena and his committee to dig deeper into NIEEB’s CSOs, which involved Kasukuwere, in particular, and his public rebuttal of any wrongdoing, evidently points to covert infighting in the ruling party.