The controversial issue regarding the operations or none thereof of Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM) Holdings is tribal, an MDC-T MP has said.
Masvingo West MP, Tachiona Chiminya, whose constituency was adversely affected by the shutdown of the mines said the reason why businessman Mutumwa Mawere, the owner of SMM Holdings before it was placed under curatorship, was being victimised was because he is a Karanga tribe.
Chiminya said there were tribal tendencies in Zimbabwe whereby the Zezuru people wanted to control all the resources in the country ahead of other tribes.
“Mutumwa Mawere is only being victimised because he is a Karanga from Masvingo,” said Chiminya.
“There is no sane government that would allow such a huge mining empire like SMM Holdings to crumble and that is why I am saying the whole issue is tribal.”
Chiminya spoke to NewsDay soon after Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa failed to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to answer questions on why Mawere’s empire was placed under curator Afaras Gwaradzimba.
When Mawere appeared before the same committee, he alleged that Chinamasa had fraudulently used the State-Indebted Insolvency Companies Act and the Reconstruction of State -Indebted Insolvent Companies Act to wrest the giant asbestos mines from him.
Chiminya said tribalism was a cancer in Zimbabwean society whereby people from the Ndebele, Shangani, Manyika, Karanga, Tonga and other tribes were looked down upon by the most powerful Zezuru tribe.
“I might sound tribal but this is a fact.
If it were someone from the Zezuru tribe who owned SMM Holdings, these mines would not have been left to collapse,” Chiminya said.
“We cannot sit as we watch SMM Holdings die like that. We cannot watch big empires falling. This should involve everyone in Zanu PF and MDC factions who is a Karanga and they should stand up and fight so that Mawere gets back his mining businesses.”
He said very few individuals benefited from the mine, yet a lot of workers were suffering due to non-payment of salaries for almost one and a half years now.
“People in my constituency are not happy that even after he was de-specified he is not being given his assets back,” he said.
Chiminya said the best thing to do was to give back Mawere his business empire because Shabanie Mine had a capacity to produce 98% of asbestos products in the country.
“We should approach the three principals in the GPA so that they seriously look into this issue because it is a tribal war,” Chiminya said.