War vets confront to Mugabe over mining spoils

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ZPRA veterans yesterday vowed to confront President Robert Mugabe over the share ownership of China-Africa Sunlight Energy coal mine in Gwayi which he promised would benefit the former freedom fighters.

Senior Reporter

The company is a joint venture between the Defence ministry’s Oldstone Investments and a Chinese company, Sha Don Sunlight Energy Investments.

In a speech read on his behalf by the then Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in December last year at the ground-breaking ceremony of the coal mine, Mugabe said ZPRA members would be part of the major beneficiaries.

The company would build a power station that would be commissioned in two years’ time. The station is projected to produce 400 megawatts of electricity and create about 4 000 jobs when fully operational. It is also expected to produce methane gas.

ZPRA veterans leader Buster Magwizi yesterday said apart from demanding the return of their properties seized during the Gukurahundi era, his members wanted Mugabe to explain how ZPRA members were going to benefit from the mine since they are not shareholders.

The mine is situated at Chamankano Farm, owned by the Minister of State responsible for Provincial Affairs in Matabeleland North, Cain Mathema.

Magwizi said they wanted firm commitment from Mugabe on how they would benefit from the operations of the mine.

“Firstly, there was no invitation to ZPRA to advise us on how we were going to benefit from the mine,” he said.

“We feel shortchanged. There is no ZPRA representation in the management of the mining company. We want to make decisions and see how our cadrés benefit,” Magwizi said they were tired of going to Mugabe with a begging bowl.

“The government is not sincere on these issues because they don’t know how many we are as ZPRA and where we are. “How then would they identify us to benefit from the project,” he asked.

Magwizi reiterated that if Mugabe was serious about empowering them, he should have engaged the ZPRA high command and returned the organisation’s properties first as well as all war documents seized by the government during Gukurahundi.

Former ZPRA freedom fighters have always accused their counterparts from Zanla of not recognising their efforts in the liberation struggle.