President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally and self-styled prophet Passion Java has torched a fiery storm after appearing in a video bragging that those implicated in Al Jazeera’s four-part gold smuggling documentary will not be prosecuted because the ruling Zanu-PF party controls all arms of the State.
This comes as the main opposition, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), has called for an independent international forensic investigation on the allegations of rampant gold smuggling and money laundering by the country’s political elite.
The documentary implicates Mnangagwa’s ambassador-at-large, Uebert Mudzanire (alias Uebrt Angel), Zimbabwe Mineral Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya, gold dealer Ewan MacMillan, businessman Simon Rudland and Kamlesh Pattni, a Kenyan pastor implicated in the 1990s Goldenberg Scandal in Kenya, but was acquitted in 2013.
“After the Al Jazeera documentary, you are going to talk about it and its trends, but what will you do? That is when I tell people to stand with the ruling party, we are the army, we are the police, we are the courts, and we are the prison. So what will you do?” Java said in the video that has since gone viral on social media platforms, torching angry outbursts from citizens.
Java did not respond to questions sent to him by NewsDay regarding his comments.
Justice, legal and parliamentary affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said government is treating the allegations in the documentary as mere “propaganda”.
“We didn’t see anything worth writing home about from government perception. I think our position is that it’s just propaganda, they are trying to tarnish the image of Zimbabwe having realised that our mining industry is now growing. By end of this year, it will be a US$12 billion industry and they are trying to find ways of tarnishing the image of government because they see the progress that has been happening since the Second Republic came into play, particularly in the gold sector,” Ziyambi said.
“We opened up artisanal miners and encouraged them to mine; the results are there for everyone to see. They are now noticing that their aim of destroying our economy is failing. They came up with these people name-dropping; we can’t use name droppers to try and tarnish the image of the country.”
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi referred all questions to the Ministry of Information and Publicity.
“I cannot comment on the issue, talk to Ndabaningi Mangwana,” Nyathi said. NewsDay could not reach Mangwana for comment.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) spokesperson Thandiwe Malobane told NewsDay that they were closely following the documentary.
“As Zacc we are closely following the documentary, that is all I can say at the moment,” she said.
Parliament Mines Portfolio Committee chairperson Edmund Mkaratigwa said: “The issue is partly in the purview of the Mines Committee, but also borders on the public accounts committee. The Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development already has an ongoing inquiry into the gold sector, and the inquiry is towards its end. Our report is being developed guided by our own findings and observations. I think that report is very crucial as an official document of government. A lot has been done by the committee in its powers and the much needed data is already available.
“We are left with some regional and international benchmarking visits and the report will be submitted to Parliament for consideration and adoption. On another note, the trending documentary as part of all media has an objective of the initiator and it is critical for us all to understand that objective among other interests before we take sides,” Mkaratigwa, a Zanu-PF member said.
“Take note that we do not subscribe to playing to the gallery, but are guided by meritocracy, responsibility and the call of duty as we endeavour to articulate pertinent and genuine issues diligently and transparently to foster accountability and sustainability.”
Efforts to get a comment from PAC chairperson Brian Dube (MDC Alliance) were fruitless.
The gold corruption exposé comes as the main oppositionCCC has called for an independent international forensic investigation on the allegations.
“We are deeply concerned by the severe disregard of formal state institutions by the persons named and referred to in the documentary. There is a strong suggestion that political elites are deliberately setting up personal networks of businesspersons-cum-criminals that operate to undermine constitutional accountability,” the CCC statement read.
“It is a matter of regret that state institutions that are constitutionally mandated to investigate and bring to book those reasonably suspected of corruption, maladministration and criminal abuse of office, including the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission neglect to investigate the issues and act as would be expected,” the CCC statement added