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Tsholotsho guys authored my woes – Mawere


FORMER mogul Mutumwa Mawere (Mawere) has been fighting the government since it took over his empire, Shabani Mashava Mine (SMM) two years ago. He recently told the International Monetary Fund that government had used foreign currency proceeds

from his companies to repay its debt.  Shakeman Mugari (Mugari) spoke to Mawere in South Africa about this and other issues.

Mugari:
People say your fight with the government to recover SMM is a futile battle. Why are you still fighting?


Mawere: I’m fighting because it’s important that we elevate and expose Zimbabwe’s problems outside the racial domain and locate them squarely on corruption, bad governance and the hopeless economics of Mugabe’s regime.


Mugari: That means it’s now about politics, is that what you are saying?


Mawere: No. I’m fighting so that future generations will not live in fear of their own government. I’m fighting so that this government does not abuse people. I want to show the hypocrisy of a government that blasts the British government but goes on to buy shares in a British company. I’m exposing their sanction-busting tactics. People have to know this government for what it is. It is a rogue state that steals from innocent people to enrich itself.


Mugari: You have been challenging the takeover of SMM in the UK courts. Can you give us an update?


Mawere: The case is still pending. What is important is that the injustice of the takeover of my companies and the appointment of Afaras Gwaradzimba (administrator) by government, ostensibly for national interest, has been exposed.


Mugari: Are you challenging government’s claims that the companies were insolvent when they took over?


Mawere: It’s shocking that whereas in Zimbabwe they said my companies were insolvent the government went to London to try and pay US$2 million for the same company. If they were insolvent then why spend that kind of money in a country where people are starving?


Mugari: How did the case get to the UK courts?


Mawere: It’s the government of Zimbabwe because they realised that because SMM is a UK-registered company, the takeover cannot be completed without the assent from the British court. It’s them who are fighting to be registered as shareholders in SMM through a nominee company, AMG Global Nominees — which is actually owned by Gwaradzimba who is apparently the administrator of SMM (Zimbabwe).


Mugari: So you are saying the government’s takeover of your companies is not complete without assent from the British courts?


Mawere: Yes, without that assent they will not take it over. It shows you that they are really desperate, otherwise why are they going to the UK?


Mugari: But why are you fighting Zimbabwean government in a UK court and not challenging them in Zimbabwe?


Mawere: It’s ironic that 26 years after Independence I have more confidence in the UK judiciary system than I have in the Zimbabwean system. The Zimbabwe judiciary has lost credibility.


Mugari: Who in particular in government instigated the takeover of your companies?


Mawere: It was the Tsholotsho guys who wanted to finance their rise to power. They wanted to siphon money out of SMM to fund their Tsholotsho project.


Mugari: You wrote to President Mugabe asking him to intervene to stop the takeover. Did he respond?


Mawere: He did not respond. How can he respond when the Tsholotsho crew fed him lies? They told him that I was financing the opposition. They are still planting stories in the media that I’m fund-raising for the MDC.


Mugari: Tell us about your claims that the government used your money to pay the IMF.


Mawere: Yes, I told the IMF that the government of Zimbabwe used my money to pay the debt and that is true. I met their IMF officers in Washington and presented them with compelling evidence to prove my claims.


Mugari: What is the evidence to back that allegation?


Mawere: It’s clear that the government is broke. If a broke government takes over my company and then a few months down the line they start paying their debts, I have every reason to believe that they are using my money. Money is fungible.


Mugari: Did you manage to convince the IMF about the source of the funds?


Mawere: Yes, the fact that they refused to restore Zimbabwe’s voting rights shows that they are not convinced by the government’s explanation about the source of the
money.


Mugari: Finally, when do you think you will come back to Zimbabwe?


Mawere: When there is order and the rule of law. I will come when leaders stop imposing sanctions on their citizens and yet blame the world for their economic problems. Bad policies never produce a functional and progressive society.

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