MUTARE – President Robert Mugabe has publicly admitted that he was fooled after being paraded holding up a $1,5 million dummy cheque by Chiadzwa diamond mining companies at the behest of then Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Mugabe told thousands of youths at Sakubva Stadium that he was bitter after he handed over the dummy cheque to Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust while promising them $50 million after he was informed that the then five mining companies had pledged $10 million each.
“They had me walk here holding a big board inscribed with a cheque that they later refused to honour. You still have that grievance.
“There was a misunderstanding between government and them until government resolved to take over the operations… once our operations improve we will fulfil that promise.
“I’m also bitter that a grown man like me, I’m made to parade a board (cheque) which doesn’t mean anything,” Mugabe said.
Parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena recommended that Mugabe should establish a commission of enquiry led by a High Court judge to investigate Kasukuwere over the matter.
Mugabe was made to preside over the launch of the trust in Marange where he was presented a dummy cheque of $1,5 million purportedly coming from one of the diamond firms when no agreement had been reached between the concerned companies.
Wadyajena claims all Cabinet ministers they interviewed who included Francis Nhema, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa, his predecessor Obert Mpofu, the then Manicaland governor Christopher Mushowe and diamond mining firms, professed ignorance about the existence of an agreement of $50 million pledge neither was there any documentation to that effect.
During the Mutare meeting and in response to a plea by Zanu PF Manicaland youth chairperson Mubuso Chinguno that locals were also hoping to benefit from the mining of diamonds in Chiadzwa, Mugabe, however, acknowledged that government operations had taken rather too long to produce returns.
“We took over everything from the Ghanaians, Lebanese, Chinese and South Africans who were running companies in Chiadzwa so that we do our own mining. But this has taken a rather long time,” Mugabe said.
Chinguno said young people were wary that diamonds were running out without any tangible benefits to locals.
“Youths are crying that diamonds are running out with locals having no benefits whatsoever,” Chinguno.