FORMER Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere and chairperson of the parliamentary committee on youth, indigenisation and economic empowerment Justice Wadyajena had a heated exchange in parliament yesterday with the cabinet minister accusing the youthful legislator of political harassment.
Kasukuwere was summoned — for the second time in less than a year — to appear before the Wadyajena-chaired committee to clarify how he administered the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme between 2009 and 2013 when he was in charge of the portfolio.
But the meeting produced more heat than light as it degenerated into a showdown between the two.
Wadyadjena is loyal to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while Kasukuwere’s relationship with the deputy president has been deteriorating since the Zanu PF congress in December, due to succession fights.
Kasukuwere took the first aim at Wadyadjena accusing the legislator of treachery, lack of understanding, before accusing him of embarking on a witchhunt and personally hunting him down, angering Wadyajena in the process.
Kasukuwere, who was this week reassigned minister of Local Government from the ministry of Water, is accused of misleading President Robert Mugabe and the public that mining firms in Marange would contribute US$10 million each towards the trust that was officially launched in 2012.
Diamond companies among them Anjin Investment, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company and Jinan, have not honoured pledges made to the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.
Some of the companies are arguing they never pledged to pay US$10 million each as stated by Kasukuwere.
After Wadyajena informed Kasukuwere that the committee wanted him to clarify on pledges made by mining companies to the trust, the minister immediately went on a war path accusing “some amongst us” of wanting to score points at a personal level.
Kasukuwere said: “There has been a lot of treachery, lack of understanding and to an extent political sabotage on this very important programme, from within and outside and that still continues Mr chairman unashamedly by some amongst us, who think that it’s about scoring gains or points at a personal level.”
He said the committee needed to understand first who the shareholders of the diamond mining companies are adding that they were the principal players in the agreements.
“…I am saying at the level of engagement, the press and everybody has tried to believe what the committee has been saying that I misled the president and had spoken to no one honestly if you wanted to ask you must have called for the shareholders who own these diamond companies,” said Kasukuwere.
However, his responses were not received well by Wadyajena who reminded Kasukuwere to stick to clarifying the pledges made to the trust, but Kasukuwere continued on a war path.
“I think it’s a big witch hunt. I don’t think it’s the committee hunting me but you Mr Chairman at a personal level. Mr Chairman you have been very careless I have recordings of your own discussions with journalists and speaking on television trying to say that there has been corruption. We respect parliament but this institution must never be used for political grandstanding.”
To which Wadyajena responded: “Honourable minister if you have any recordings anything on what you are saying my carelessness, you are free to take them up to the parliament administration. I won’t be intimidated. I am doing my job and I will continue with this investigation.”