This is specifically a response to a Herald article entitled Masawara: The place of Indeginistion and empowerment on 30 October 2010 has left me with no choice but to air my views.
It was only after I read the said article in which reference was made to the role played by Zanu PF and the late Eddison Mudadirwa Zvobgo on Mutumwa Mawere’s acquisition of Shabanie Mashaba Holdings Private Limited in 1996, that I felt compelled to engage in both political and intellectual disputation with Nathaniel Manheru for the purposes of public interest and good governance.
For the refreshment of memory, I quote Nathaniel Manheru “Mutumwa
Mawere recently made a very facial, knee jerk response to one of my pieces he did not find too pretty…he, of all people cannot pretend not to know who in this economy is in front, and who in this economy is a mere front. Whatever scars he bears, whatever bitterness he harbours, and whatever sympathies he courts and seeks to cull, he should never hope to get away with false solidarity built around cheap notion of persecution. No one persecuted him.
All he got was just dessert when he eventually gets back his empire and I know he shall not to long from now, he shall be made to atone for the sins that won him scars and hurts. But let him not fool readers of New Zimbabwe .com. He is no Zanu PF hater, only a Zanu PF man angry against individuals in his party… Zanu PF through then Minister of Mines Eddison Zvobgo did a lot for him to be what he is today…”
Manheru’s pontification is that Mawere should not complain when he is wronged.
The major issues of concern here are rule of law, property rights and fundamentally the issue of human rights. These are cardinal tenets of good governance that goes beyond political affinities. Human rights abused against Nathaniel Manheru or against Morgan Tsvangirai, Job Sikhala or any Zimbabwean are human rights abuses, full stop.
Further in his epistle, Manheru raises the role played by the late Zvobgo in the acquisition of SMM Holdings. Knowingly or unknowingly Manheru forgets to enlighten the reading public on how an acquisition from one private company registered in British Virgin Islands would involve a Minister in the jurisdiction of Zimbabwe. That remains a mystery.
The assets in question were not government owned and the seller participated in the disposal of Zimbabwean interest on a voluntary basis. If SMM was a parastatals one would understand how a minister would be relevant in deciding terms and conditions of such a transaction. Be it as it may, the characteristics of Manheru to distort and impute facts to feed a narrow ideological perspective fails anything noble in Zimbabwe.
Will it be the sole consequences of government action if I sale my house to somebody that I must give credit to the government for it to be possible? What kind of logic is this Manheru? Tell us how precisely the late Zvobgo was involved and whose interests was he representing.
No doubt future generations will look back and find the writings of Manheru devoid of fact as the truth of the day.
As a former legislator and a political player I have taken the SMM issue is an acid test on how not to govern. In July 2005, I was one of the leading voices of many in parliament expressing detest and outrage at how state power was borrowed and used to undermine the person of Mutumwa Mawere and his property rights. History will record that Manheru’s voice was not in evident. More importantly, Chinamasa in response to our questions in parliament at that material time did confirm that in fact SMM was wholly owned by an English company, SMM Holdings limited and the shares in question were pledged to vendors, that is T&N plc.
In fact the government of Zimbabwe through Patrick Chinamasa confirmed in parliament at that time that they are using Arafas Gwaradzimba, the state appointed administrator of SMM to attempt acquiring the mortgaged shares in SMM holdings.
If the outstanding shares were pledged to the seller how then could the late Zvobgo be relevant? If Mawere’s acquisition was facilitated through a government guarantee as presented by Chinamasa in parliament, how then could the same shares be mortgaged to the vendor?
It was only after I read Manheru’s epistle that I picked something was amiss and decided to join the fray. What caught my eye so much is the glorification of the role played by Zanu PF and the late Zvobgo in the acquisition of SMM holdings by Mutumwa Mawere in 1996.
Nathaniel Manheru whose true identity is a mystery but believed to be George Charamba, permanent secretary in the Information and Publicity ministry has been pushing an agenda to the effect that Zanu PF was and remains the custodian of black economic empowerment and indigenization by appropriating the credit for the isolated cases for the ascendance of black Zimbabweans in the mainstream economy on partisan basis.
We have all been subjected to propaganda that in each and every case of a black person being involved in the national economy, the hand of Zanu PF is always omni present. Using this cheap propaganda, it is understandable why Manheru would opportunistically invoke the name of the late Zvobgo to give credit to Zanu PF for Mawere’s historic and path finding transaction that we saw in 1996. We witnessed the transferring of management and control of SMM into Mawere’s hands.
What, if any role the same dominated government played in the rise of Mawere. It is a matter which must be openly debated by our generation whilst some of the key founding fathers of Zimbabwe are still alive to witness and participate in the debate. Unlike some of us who do not have unfettered access to the state media. Manheru suffers no limitation like some of us, he has the state media in his hands to push self serving ideas and cheap propaganda.
Manheru has acquired a name, a reputation for himself for pushing the interests he represents, not because his points are right and true but because he has unlimited access to the platform to dominate the boxing ring of ideas. Ordinarily as a political player I will not bother taking the trouble to intervene, although Manheru is not the kind of a person who accepts criticism. He is extremely influential and his views have constituted to shaping the state of mind for his 86 year old President. At every opportunity his President’s message on indigenization reflects the goblin of Manheru’s shadow. That’s how powerful Manheru’s views have become Zimbabwe’s state crafts man ship.