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Minerals, land: new battleground for Zanu PF factions

Minerals and land ownership have become new factional frontiers in the ruling Zanu PF amid reports warring factions have captured the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu).

Insiders told Zim Morning Post that the two bodies are now acting on factional lines with Zacc serving the interests of the military faction while Sacu, which operates from the office of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, remains loyal to the Pro-ED faction.

“Zacc is pursuing loyalists of the pro-ED faction, investigating them over corruption in the mining sector. Just look at the trends, Zacc is closing in on all those dealing with minerals and mines while Sacu is targeting those involved in land scams,” a highly placed source told Zim Morning Post.

Zim Morning Post understands that the two factions are now battling for the control of land and minerals, with the military backed faction seemingly in control of the land.

The fight for land and minerals has widened factional fissures as both cabals seek to maintain hegemony over both resources, Zim Morning Most can report.

The findings of a commission of inquiry into the sale of State land in and around urban areas, chaired by Justice Tendai Uchena, established that the culprits were mostly political elites.

The report noted that large tracts of land were illegally acquired through the use of names of top Zanu PF party officials, exerting undue influence on government institutions and processes. 

“The land audit report is clear in that the Chiwenga faction and the military bigwigs are in control of the land. The list involves army generals who are multiple farm owners while others have illegally parcelled out State land in peri- urban farms. During the rundown to the elections, Zanu PF used land as a campaign tool and army bosses grabbed most of the land,” said a source. 

Zim Morning Post established that land barons have been under the radar of Mnangagwa’ Sacu, while Zacc has been pre-occupied with targeting mining syndicates and plugging minerals leakages.

Last week, Sacu arrested former labour minister Petronella Kagonye over an alleged land scam and this publication has it on good authority that the same body is also investigating Chitungwiza Town council financial director Evangelista Machona over abuse of office and land grab allegations.

“We are seized with several matters at Chitungwiza Town Council where land was illegally parcelled out and the council milked dry,” said a Sacu insider. 

“Mai Machona is under our radar, we are interested in some funds amounting to US$1,5 million that were moved from Metbank and the rescinding of some offer letters and she will be invited to assist with investigations soon. We are also keen in finding out her interest in the planned construction of Town Council Offices.”

On the other hand, Zacc is swooping in on mineral syndicates where the Mnangagwa faction is believed to dominate.

“Recently, there was a report pinpointing weaknesses and loopholes at the Mines Ministry where individuals believed to be linked to Mnangagwa are implicated. It is clear that minerals and land are the new battlegrounds for the factions. Look at the latest Tusk Mining Syndicate dispute at David Whitehead in Chegutu, it involves Vengi Musengi (Mashonaland West provincial youth chairperson), who claims to be related to Mnangagwa,” said a Government insider. 

“Although the military also owns big mineral entities like Anjin and so forth, Mnangagwa clique dominates in this area, the death of SB Moyo worsened the situation because he was the voice of reason in creating sober relations with the military,” explained our source.

Recently, Zimbabwe Mining Federation boss Henrieta Rushwaya was nabbed at Robert Mugabe International airport in an attempt to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai.

Upon arrest, she implicated the First Family in the gold heist although this was quickly rubbished.

Rushwaya spent a lengthy period in remand prison and is currently out on bail. 

Fidelity Refineries has also been under scrutiny with allegations that senior officials were accomplices in the looting of gold especially in Midlands province which is Mnangagwa’s stronghold.

Recently, Mnangagwa ally Vongai Mupereri was implicated in the looting at Kwekwe based Gaika mine, and the military had to intervene to cordon off the mine.

This publication was on the ground when members of the military drawn from as far as Matabeleland besieged Gaika mine.

The 2017 military intervention that saw the late former president Robert Mugabe’s ouster technically gave the army a role in electoral politics.

Political analyst Enock Ndawana posits that the military backed faction had an edge in controlling national resources as long as they are involved in partisan politics.

“The continuing factional wars within Zanu PF, and the veto of parliamentary resolutions by Zimbabwe’s military largely demonstrates a regression of democracy in which the military elite’s narrow interests are cloaked in the national interest. It establishes that President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed power in 2017 following the departure of President Robert Mugabe mostly due to pressure from the military, a force that remains the key determinant factor in who rules Zimbabwe.  Consequently, the Zimbabwean military is likely to continue hamstringing democratisation as long as it remains embedded in the country’s partisan politics,” submitted Ndawana.

In 2015 a proposed government land audit hit a snag before getting underway after a pilot project revealed that several top government and Zanu PF officials and military chiefs own on average of two farms each.