OVER a hundred Zanu PF women miners in Mashonaland Central province have petitioned President Robert Mugabe, asking the 93-year-old leader to “stop” party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and his brother Dickson Mafios from interfering with their operations.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Kasukuwere, who is also Local Government minister and Mafios – the Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson are being accused of “corrupt” practices that could threaten the party’s chances in general elections next year, the women warn in the petition.
The petition is part of court papers, in which Women in Mining Trust, Rass Mining Syndicate, Chehumambe Mining Syndicate and Community Mining Syndicate have approached the High Court seeking an interdict against Kasukuwere, Mafios, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidhakwa, a Chief Superintendent Chikuma, Superintendent Chiparaushe and Commissioner-General of Police, Augustine Chihuri.
“Lest we forget the electoral loss which was a heavy drubbing, that the party (Zanu PF) suffered in all the 12 local council wards to the opposition (MDC-T) in 2008 general elections. Mafios and crew are taking advantage of their close relationship to Mr Rwafa the provincial Environmental Management Authority manager to victimise us and to disrupt our mining activities,” the petitioners said.
“We being loyal and die-hard Zanu PF cadres fully know the effect of disruption of mining activities at Kitsiyatota to the party’s electoral performance in Bindura. This ‘coup detat’ type of takeover of our mine that Mafios and company wants to employ is tantamount to destroying the party in Bindura because the majority of residents earn their living from mining activities at Kitsiyatota …”
Mafios, according to the petition, wants to seize the gold claims under the pretext that they would benefit Zanu PF ahead of elections, yet it is for his “pension” as he had worked for the ruling party but remains poor.”
“The plans by Mafios and his ‘comrades in corruption and looting’ to take over our mine under the false pretence that it will be a party project to raise funds for the party’s election campaign when it is common knowledge that it is for self-aggrandizement driven by greed and selfishness on their part and that Mafios wants to use the monetary proceeds from the purported mining activities to settle his ever ballooning debt with CBZ Bank,” the petition read.
Kasukuwere is said to be backing Mafios.
“Kasukuwere addressed a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting at Mayfair Lodge in Bindura last month, where he boldly declared in no uncertain terms that he is going to instruct Chidakwa, to cancel our certificates with immediate effect,” the women allege.
“Kasukuwere, being the most senior party official in our province has been using threats and victimisation to have his way such that all the provincial members and the general membership of the party in the province is afraid to stand up to him concerning our issues for fear of being expelled from the party.”
With police having reportedly been roped in, the miners allege a death has already been recorded after a colleague was chased into a hole using dogs.
In her founding affidavit, one of the founding members of Women in Mining Trust, Shantel Mbereko, urged the court to grant them an interdict, adding using politics to claim what belongs to them in the province was a sheer wastage of time.
“This matter has a long, chequered, if not unfortunate history in so far as such history speaks to political victimisation, gender inequality, injustice and brazen corruption by various individuals in power,” Mbereko said.
“By virtue of being Zanu PF political commissar, Honourable Kasukuwere arrogates to himself powers that, de facto, make him superintend other government ministers. The unfortunate consequence of this development is that he openly brags that he orders around other government ministers, especially, where he stands to corruptly and personally benefit from doing so.”
Mbereko described Kasukuwere as “arrogant” and his actions “unconstitutional”.
The trust said it had cited Chihuri and Chidakwa and other senior police officers as respondents in the matter in order to stop them from taking orders from Kasukuwere.