PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last week took a swipe at war veterans for belittling his indigenisation calls by fronting for white business people in mining and farming activities in the country.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters who thronged Chipadze Stadium in Bindura to celebrate his 89th birthday, Mugabe said he is aware that some war veterans and senior party officials are active in safeguarding the interests of white capital.
“The war veterans came in groups and were given permission to mine chrome and coal but some are now shadows of the white people and they continue to lie to us that they are on their own,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe’s swipe comes in the wake of complaints in Masvingo that Zanu PF politburo member Dzikamai Mavhaire is fronting for whites after he allegedly blocked the indigenisation of Zimbabwe’s sole lithium producer, Bikita Minerals.
Mavhaire has a 21% stake in Bikita Minerals and he argues that there is no need for the company to be subjected to government’s controversial indigenisation regulations because it is indigenised already.
Mavhaire says he embraced indigenisation long before the country had enforced the law.
Besides his 21% shares in the mine, Bikita Community Trust has 10%, the Sovereign Trust Fund another 10%, the workers 5% and (ZCC) Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi has 5%.
Zanu PF has enlisted the service of war veterans to campaign for the party in crucial forthcoming elections and it is not known what implications Mugabe’s swipe would have on their resolve to mobilise support for the polls.
Mugabe gave firebrand war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda the nod to mobilise support for Zanu PF in the provinces last year.
Sibanda said Mugabe is exposing certain elements who do not belong to his association.
“War veterans include a lot of people and those that are involved in such activities are not part of my association,” said Sibanda. “The list of those in mining activities (which I cannot reveal to you) include high ranking people who have been in business and have never been part of my association,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said those who belong to his association are still waiting for their mining concessions from the Ministry of Mines.
“The war veterans in my association are standing for what is right and we are on the ground to make sure there will be victory for President Mugabe and Zanu PF in the forthcoming elections,” Sibanda said.
Mugabe’s weekend vitriol will open a can of worms as most Zanu PF officials and chiefs are reportedly being used as fronts by white business people and ex-farmers whose land was grabbed at the onset of the land reform programme.
Mugabe also recently threatened to take action against chiefs and senior government officials he accused of leasing their land to former white farmers while addressing a conference for traditional leaders in Masvingo.