ZDI chief, Kabila own firm at centre of row

Clemence Manyukwe


PRESIDENT of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Joseph Kabila and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) chief executive Colonel Tshinga Dube have been named as the owners of a company that is enmeshed

in a pay dispute with 10 local workers for services rendered at a diamond mine in the central African country.


ZDI is a state-owned weapons manufacturing firm.


The revelation was made last Friday at the Harare High Court by retired army Colonel Paul Kujoka who was employed at the diamond mine in 2000 as a general manager.


Kujoka made the revelation while giving evidence in a matter in which one of the former mine workers, Urayayi Sakupwanya, is demanding US$21 000 from businessman Lloyd Hove and a company called Thabs Marketing. It is not clear how much the other nine workers are owed by the mine owners.


Hove is Thabs Marketing chief executive.


Sakupwanya, who is being represented by Harare lawyer Advocate Prince Machaya, said he was supposed to be paid a monthly salary of US$5 000.


Under cross examination Kujoka, who described himself as a “known military man in the DRC after having worked for the ZDI” marketing arms and ammunition in the Congo, said: “The company is owned by President Joseph Kabila and Col Dube, the general manager of Zimbabwe Defence Industries.”


Kabila replaced his father Laurent as president after the latter was shot dead by his bodyguard in January 2001.


“Pascal Unyemba came to the mine from the president’s office (DRC) as a representative of Dube and Associates,” he added.


Kujoka said the Zimbabweans were employed by locally-registered Thabs Marketing that made them sign employment contracts with Dube and Associates which is registered in the Congo on promises that their United States dollar salaries would be deposited in Harare at a local bank.


The salaries were never deposited.


Kujoka said Thabs Marketing gave them a guarantee that if problems arose with Dube and Associates, the local company would bear responsibility.


Kujoka said at the mine, 65% of income went to Thabs Marketing while Kabila and Dube’s company took 15% of the proceeds.


Two local chiefs, whom Kujoka said received them well in their community, were given 14% and 5% of proceeds respectively while 1% went to some commissioners.


“Whereas other stakeholders were given their share in money form, Dube and Associates demanded diamonds… the distribution was done on a weekly basis. Every week I gave diamonds to Unyemba for Dube and Associates,” he said.