RENEWAL Team treasurer-general Elton Mangoma has sensationally claimed that embattled MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai received a cash bribe from Green Fuel proprietor Billy Rautenbach to block displaced Chisumbanje villagers from demanding compensation for their seized farmland.
However, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday denied the charges levelled against Tsvangirai.
Mangoma made the claims in Mutare on Sunday at a Renewal Team Manicaland provincial executive meeting. He said the former Premier received the bribe during the tenure of the inclusive government that ended with the disputed July 31 2013 polls.
“The Chisumbanje issue is so painful that people were removed from their land by Zanu PF to give it to Rautenbach,” Mangoma said.
“Tsvangirai was also given money by Rautenbach and after that he would say Mangoma should act, but I would refuse because we cannot dump people to please a white man. Even today, the issue is disturbing, but Tsvangirai went there and said he didn’t see anything bad because he was given money,” he claimed.
Mangoma was the Energy minister at the relevant time and was directly in charge of all energy-related matters including Rautenbach’s $600 million ethanol plant.
Mangoma further added that the MDC-T was compromised to the extent that it could not be expected to deal conclusively and justly in the Chisumbanje villagers’ fight to get compensation from Green Fuel.
He added: “We were saying Zanu PF is corrupt, that Zanu PF is very violent, but Tsvangirai was also doing corruption like this issue of Billy I am talking about.”
“That is completely false and malicious. It is part of their trademark crusade against the person of Tsvangirai,” Mwonzora said.
Rautenbach’s son, Conrad, who is Green Fuel general manager, yesterday declined to comment over the phone, preferring to respond by email, but had not done so at the time of going to print last night.
A fortnight ago an estimated 2 000 disgruntled villagers told a Parliamentary portfolio committee that Green Fuels was yet to fulfil several community development projects it had promised as part of its project when it was launched.