By Maynard Manyowa
There is common phrase used to describe Zimbabwean politicians and their contribution to the country’s demise – “When Lunatics take over the Asylum”.
It is generally agreed that this is the case. I have always disputed this position however. Evidence seems to show that it is thugs and not lunatics, who have taken over. I have written before; that Zanu PF’s Mafia mentality has poisoned society.
A few days ago, I wrote about Acie Lumumba and his history of lying, cheating and stealing, after he had fell out with Zhuwao.
Whilst I dismissed Lumumba as another fraudulent opportunist, I was careful to reiterate that Zhuwao was not a man of integrity, and that Lumumba’s accusations were probably ‘very true’.
If Lumumba is the crook his history shows him to be, then Patrick Zhuwao is the little Godfather of the corruption.
Since Patrick Zhuwao took over as Minister, his main goal has been to steal, and loot monumentally, and with impunity. I mentioned last time, that the Youth Steering Committee is a smokescreen for bullying.
My reason was that, it is a parallel government structure, whose mandate is exactly similar to the one of the Zimbabwe Youth Council – an official government structure which is mandated by an act of parliament.
Therein lies problem number one. ZYC activities are bound by law, and its members can be summoned to report to parliament, and justify their efforts in achieving the mandate prescribed to them in official government policy. The YSC however, cannot be held to account so easily, even though they will now handle public finance.
Secondly, it is an organisation that operates at the pleasure of the Minister, and not the ministry (government), while using the name of the government to get funds and remit them to the Minister.
Zhuwao has set-up a parallel government ministry which reports only to him, which is a duplication of government roles, just like the famous rank marshal mafia of previous years who collected taxes from commuter operators, while the City Council got nothing.
It’s become a Ministry of Patrick. Even at press conferences, his permanent secretary, and the ministry director are ever absent. It is always him, and his partner in crime, only identified as Rangarirai.
A few months ago, Patrick Zhuwao unilaterally sent out a memo to all provincial and district executives employed by the Ministry, instructing them to work with a private company called 3BL consultants, which is owned by his mistress.
The company is now termed an official government partner for Indigenisation, and has been running around town with bouncers, threatening directors of all foreign owned companies, but more significantly, accepting negotiated payments on behalf of the government.
There is an obvious problem there. To begin with, the Ministry of Indigenisation has a clear role – to enforce compliance of companies with the country’s laws and policy.
The job of collecting payments for Indigenisation falls under treasury and the ministry of finance.
Secondly, Zhuwao’s ministry has the sole job of policing and enforcing the law. Negotiations on policy and laws are and must be done in parliament and at cabinet.
Furthermore, if there was any need for a discussion with ministry officials, that would be the job of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, a one George Magosvongwe.
What 3BL consultants has been doing – going around the city collecting payments, and negotiating with firms is illegal, and inconsistent with the law.
In a recent newspaper, the Minister apologized, and attempted to give the impression that he was unaware of what is acceptable and what is not – Note: that this is a blue lie.
Zhuwao knew what he was doing, and I have the facts to prove it.
Patrick Zhuwao decided to set up parallel government structures because he wanted to break the law, and collect mafia payments from companies. Had he attempted to use ministry officials, they would have refused, as they are well versed with the law.
In fact, I spoke with a few directors from the Ministry, who indicated they intended to petition the President, and resign if Zhuwao is not culled.
A very clear example of the Zhuwao grand theft scheme is the on-going extortion of Granite mining firms in Harare.
Almost two months ago, the minister dispatched his mafia army of 3BL consultants to all granite mining firms in Harare which are not yet compliant with Indigenisation requirements.
The minister through his proxy company is demanding $140, 000 USD from each of the two dozen companies, (a grand total of $2.8 Million USD).
The money is being termed a goodwill contribution towards a dinner which the Minister intends to hold in a few weeks.
The companies that have paid the money to 3BL consultants have been told that they no longer need to comply with the Indigenisation law.
A contact of mine in the ministry of finance revealed that this $2.8 million which the companies were made to believe is a payment to the government has not made its way to treasury.
It probably will not, as the government does not employ third parties to collect its payments on its behalf!
Secondly, negotiated payments are not discussed by a Minister, nor a private firm owned by his girlfriend – they are matters of national policies debated in parliament and which can only be agreed to via necessary amendments to legislature.
Those that have paid the money have been robbed, and those that have not would be wise not to do so.
If many were wondering how Zhuwao bought his son a million dollar sports car – there is their answer – through payments like these.
As I said, since Zhuwao became Minister, he has set-up a parallel private mafia, which reports to him, and which is going around town looting.
One director of a Granite mining firm narrated how Zhuwao sent an army of 30 armed men to his residence after he refused on behalf of his company to pay the $140, 000 demanded by 3BL, and an extra $50,000 for the Minister as protection fee.
After he indicated he would take this matter to court, the gang stormed his house, beat him up, held him hostage for 2 days, and forced his wife to drink 6 liters of water – until she vomited and lost consciousness.
They shot his dog and promised him that if they ever had to return, they would shoot his children.
This is in one sub-sector – granite mining. He intends to do the same with Gold, Coal, Diamonds, Banks, Manufacturing companies, and many many more.
As i said, it is not lunatics, it is criminal gangs have taken over the asylum!
Update: On the 20th of May 2016, almost a month after this article was released, State Newspaper, The Herald reported that Minister Zhuwao was implicated in shady corrupt deals by and with 3BL consultancy in Parliament. The facts revealed in parliament consistent with what was published in this piece.
- Maynard Manyowa is a Political Analyst, and contributing editor of Khuluma Afrika