President Robert Mugabe on Thursday officially launched the Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust, which was given US$10 million by Zimplats.
A war veteran who was barred from attending the colourful ceremony accused senior government officials of sidelining the community.
“It pains us to see how our fellow comrades in Zanu PF remain the only ones that benefit each and every time there is something of monetary value and they seem to never have enough,” the war veteran who requested to remain anonymous said.
“This project should be run by the community, not some ministers from Harare dictating everything.
“We know that these politicians have handpicked chiefs that are loyal to them that they will use as fronts to milk this trust with no meaningful development to this area.”
Last month Chief Nyika, whose jurisdiction covers Zimplats mine, accused Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere and area MP Bright Matonga of sidelining him.
The chief said he would not recognise the trust because his people had formed their own Mhondoro-Ngezi Community Development Foundation (MN-CDF), which the three politicians have allegedly sidelined.
Chombo, Kasukuwere and Matonga all denied the accusations.
Mashonaland West governor Faber Chidarikire appeared to be confirming the rift at the launch when he accused unnamed government officials of being greedy.
“We will not tolerate individualism and greed over the community share ownership trust. Chidarikire said. “Everyone has to benefit regardless of political affiliation.”
Meanwhile, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment deputy minister Tongai Matutu (MDC-T) said there was no transparency in the way the community trusts were being set-up.
“The main problem with this community trust is the facilitation,” Matutu said on the sidelines of the launch.
“Some of these traditional chiefs are being manipulated at the expense of the community, there is no transparency.”
He said the MDC-T party was not against indigenisation but objected to the way it was being handled.
“There is need to strike a balance between empowering our people and keeping the economy going,” Matutu said.
“There is need to consult all government ministries, especially those that deal with investment and tourism so that our ministry will not destroy the ministries of Mines, Tourism and Industry’s efforts to get the country’s economy going.”