MASVINGO-The fight to control the country’s sole lithium mine – Bikita Minerals, about 60 kilometres east of Masvingo — has taken a nasty twist after warring Zanu PF factions turned the heat on each other.
Zanu PF Chivi Central MP Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana accused party politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire, a director of the mine and second major shareholder, of fronting the former white owners.
Mangwana is linked to a faction sympathetic to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa while Mavhaire allegedly belongs to another pushing for Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s ascendancy to the Presidency.
Addressing journalists at Masvingo Press Club on Friday evening, Mangwana queried the authenticity of the mine’s new shareholding structure which was revealed before the Indigenisation and Empowerment Regulations were announced, saying the move where Mavhaire got 21% was meant to shield the former white owners from government takeover.
“Mavhaire is fronting for the whites at Bikita Minerals. Where did he get the money to buy those shares? He is being used by the whites. It is so shameful. We were together (with Mavhaire) in the liberation war fighting the whites, but whites will always be whites, they will try to use the black man.
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“The Indigenisation minister (Saviour Kasukuwere) should investigate the shareholding structure. I do not think the shareholding structure is true,” said Mangwana.
But Mavhaire rubbished Mangwana’s claims.
“That is for Mangwana to say. But why can’t he come and ask me where I got the money to buy the shares than tell the Press?
I am a mature politician who, because of my foresight, embraced indigenisation long before the country had enforced the law. I was in Bikita for the past 10 years, and the indigenisation law is two years old.
“I have 21% shares in the mine, Bikita Community Trust has 10%, the Sovereign Trust Fund another 10%, and workers have 5% while (ZCC) Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi has 5%,” said Mavhaire.
Bikita Minerals has of late enjoyed unchallenged control under the country’s indigenisation laws allegedly courtesy of Mavhaire.