Zimbabwe Fugitive Businessman Will Not Get Businesses Back

The struggling workers thought the decision to remove Mawere from specification will allow him to take over his businesses, grabbed from him by the previous Zanu (PF) regime, and re-open the closed mine.

More than 5 000 employees lost their jobs when the mine closed this year. The World Food Programme at one time helped the struggling employees, who had gone for months without payment, with food handouts to avert deaths from hunger.

The government  appointed  Arafas Gwaradzimba as commissioner of the Mine when Mawere fled the country facing externalisation of foreign currency charges in 2004.

The mine’s fortunes took a nosedive under curator ship, with workers going for two years without salaries and sent on unpaid forced leave. This prompted a strike that saw the poor workers being beaten ruthlessly by riot police, with one worker shot and injured.

The last straw was the switching off of electricity by the power untility, Zimbabwe Electricity Authority (Zesa) Holdings, over non-payment of bills as the mine ceased operations.

The state-owned Herald on Tuesday quoted the Mine’s administrator, Gwaradzimba, saying Mawere’s recent de-specification did not mean he will regain control of his companies.

“Mawere was de-specified and that has nothing to do with the reconstruction process. It is the State that has de-specified him and that will not affect my work to reconstruct SMM,” Gwaradzimba said.

Mawere, who has since acquired South African citizenship, said he will only return to Zimbabwe if government hands him back his businesses.

“The totality of the action taken against me are self-evident, companies remain under the control of an administrator. I only hope that the Government will do the right thing and reverse it,” Mawere said.

He added, “It is regrettable that six years of someone’s life could be suspended and managed by the State to his detriment. It is not just specification because specification on the face of it is harmless but when it is associated with plunder, vulture capitalists in the guise of reconstruction and hypocrisy, it undermines the rule of law,” said Mawere.