The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy last week released its Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM) probe report, and adjudged that Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was in contempt of Parliament for allegedly lying under oath about the whereabouts of the bearer share certificates previously in the possession of the UK-based firm T&N, which sold the company to Mutumwa Mawere.
The Edward Chindori-Chininga-led committee has asked the Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo to bring charges of contempt of Parliament against Chinamasa.
Moyo is also expected to make a ruling on the actions of SMM administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba who contravened the provisions of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act.
Gwaradzimba reportedly published a defamatory statement in the Press, hence demeaning the proceedings and character of the committee. But what is the import of the report? If indeed, Chinamasa is at fault, why should it take ages to bring him to book? Is the Honourable member above the law?
The way the committee made these recommendations is like they felt guilty such that they decided to water down their findings.
Suppose you park your vehicle in the city, and on returning you find it has disappeared. Upon making enquiries you come across somebody driving it? Isn’t it that one would call the police to arrest whoever is driving it?
What has come out clear in this report is that it was erroneous to specify Mutumwa Mawere and then dispossess him of his SMM properties on fictitious allegations that he had externalised millions of dollars.
Why then should the probe team be sorry about their findings such that they recommend dialogue between whoever has helped himself to the properties and Mawere?
We have no doubt that no one in their right senses can fight the government and win — Chinamasa included. And that applies to Mawere as well. And so, if it is true that Chinamasa erred in his judgment in this regard, he should face the music.
One also wonders how the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe could just release $2 million of State money to an individual. Was it a loan or something else? The RBZ should collect the funds advanced to Gwaradzimba to acquire T & N’s rights in respect of SMM as he lost his bid to gain control of SMM Holding in the UK and surrendered the bearer share warrants in accordance with the UK Court decision.
One also wonders why Chinamasa refused to honour his pledges to the portfolio committee if he was convinced what he was doing was above board and for the benefit of the nation.
There is no doubt that Chinamasa’s intransigence on this whole matter has affected the majority of the workers at the two mines, who have also gone for more than two years without salaries.
They are struggling to meet their basic needs such as clothing and shelter. Domestic violence and moral decadence are the order of the day in the townships.
What this matter has successfully done to Zimbabwe is to destroy the confidence of investors because the rule of law with regards to property ownership appears to be lacking.
It is however, possible that we can stitch the pieces back again!