Artisanal miners in leadership wrangle

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

THE Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF), led by Ishmael Kaguru, has described the disbandment of the ZMF and formation of a new body — the Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners’ Federation (ZASMF) — as illegal and dubious.

ZMF president Henrietta Rushwaya recently lost the presidency of the association after the High Court declared null and void the results and proceedings of the elections which brought her to the helm of the small-scale miners’ body.

The High Court directed the old executive, led by Kaguru, to take over the leadership of ZMF and lead the organisation to election soon.

Interestingly, as the court ruling was just being handed down on March 26, 2019, the ZMF executive led by Rushwaya announced a decision to change its name to the ZASMF, a decision Kaguru described as invalid.

“We want to notify miners of the current situation because they don’t know that things have changed. What is only left for now is to appoint a board of five people to investigate the issue of Rushwaya. As soon as the board completes its investigations we are going to have the elections,” Kaguru said.

Asked about what would happen since the Rushwaya-led executive had disbanded ZMF and came up with a new organisation — ZASMF — Kaguru said: “It’s a dubious thing. It was done out of frustration. Who mandated them to do that because ZMF constitution doesn’t allow that? It’s null and void,” he said.

Contacted for comment, Rushwaya’s lawyer advocate Tapson Dzvetero said the statements by Kaguru were misplaced.

“That is a purely wrong statement. What provision is he relating to in the miners’ federation which precludes or stops the formation of an organisation?” he asked.

“In a nutshell, the federation is just a federation which is formed in terms of its constitution and there is nothing that stops anyone in Zimbabwe from forming an organisation using its own constitution and their own trust. They are free human beings to do that.”

Dzvetero said it was premature for Kaguru’s executive to celebrate as the matter was subject to litigation.

“The matter is still subject to litigation because there has been an appeal that has been lodged against that order. So it is still subjudice and it is premature for you to say they have lost when there is still an appeal which is pending. The effect of the appeal is to suspend the effect of the order that they are relating to. So you have to await the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue,” he said.

Asked whether the appeal had been filled already, he said: “It’s in the process of being filled today (yesterday). I can’t say conclusively, but it’s in the process of being filled and the effect is to suspend that.”

A member from Rushwaya-led executive, Lindi Mpofu challenged Kaguru to show the miners his achievements in the past 15 years he has been in office.

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