MASVINGO — Cracks within Zanu PF’s Masvingo provincial structures widened yesterday after senior party cadres openly fought over control of Zimbabwe’s sole lithium producer, Bikita Minerals.
Report by Tatenda Chitagu
Speaking at a no-holds-barred meeting attended by Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo ahead of the launch of the province’s $10 million community share ownership scheme, Retired Colonel Claudius Makova said: “I want to speak on the part of Bikita Minerals. We hear some individuals have 21% shares.”
This was in apparent reference to fellow senior party official Dzikamai Mavhaire, who is believed to be a major shareholder at the company.
“We are saying no to individuals with more shares. It is just a perpetuation of the minority control from whites to blacks. We want a scheme that benefits the majority,” Makova said in a thinly-veiled attack on Mavhaire. Makova and Mavhaire were once involved in a fight over control of the Bikita mine.
Zanu PF provincial chairperson Lovemore Matuke concurred: “We are experiencing problems as the provincial leadership. Some party members believe that those with shares in some companies are fronts for the whites. Other party members are furthering the interests of the whites. We do not support such things because some party members use their political muscle.”
However, Mavhaire defended his stake in the company saying: “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%.”
In his address, Kasukuwere threatened to cause the arrest of top management at the Lowveld sugar-milling company, Tongaat Hullet, whom he accused of defying his indigenisation orders and snubbing yesterday’s meeting.
“They (Tongaat) think Zimbabweans are not a people. But there will be no exception. There are no sacred cows. What is so special about Tongaat? The land is ours, not theirs. If they lied about their shareholding, they must get arrested,” said Kasukuwere.
“Some of these colonial companies think they can get away with it. They behave as if we are living in the era of (Ian) Smith. This is the era of (President Robert) Mugabe. It is time that the whites accepted that it is now our turn,” he said.