By Fungi Kwaramba
HARARE – In a stunning revelation, former Masvingo State minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti says President Robert Mugabe is sitting on reports detailing how some of his ministers demand kickbacks from investors and the country’s few remaining white farmers.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily News at the weekend, Bhasikiti — while careful not to mire Mugabe in the corruption — said he had personally handed a report to the nonagenarian’s chief secretary, Misheck Sibanda, which detailed the corrupt activities of two ministers which he named.
The Daily News was advised by its legal representatives to withhold the names of the two ministers and alleged beneficiaries of corruption, both of them from Masvingo, until they had been given an opportunity to defend themselves.
Efforts to reach the two bigwigs last night were unsuccessful.
Bhasikiti also claimed that Chingwizi villagers were being pushed around by the two ministers who were allegedly “pandering to the whims and machinations of rich investors”.
“I have written a report which I gave to the chief secretary Misheck Sibanda when I was (Masvingo) minister, highlighting these nefarious activities taking place in the province.
“I even attached a letter from Joc (Joint Operations Command). In the report I mentioned all these people and I do not lie to the president. However, all my attempts to meet him (the president) were thwarted because he was always said to be busy,” Bhasikiti said.
The Mwenezi East legislator, who was recently relieved of his ministerial duties, ostensibly because of incompetency but in reality because of his alleged connections to the “wrong basket” of ousted former vice president Joice Mujuru, also said unequivocally that corruption was stalling development in Masvingo.
Bhasikiti said successive provincial ministers had inexplicably failed to find decent land for the Chingwizi villagers, adding that he was the only one who was able to come up with a plan that was amenable to the majority of the villagers.
He alleged that the whole Chingwizi resettlement stand-off was “wrapped in sleaze involving large companies that are interested in sugar cane production”.
“They have now agreed to take people to Chiwumburu Farm, but the irony of this all is that Chiwumburu Farm is just next to where the people are currently settled, and it is the worst area in terms of drainage and soil texture, so you will be taking people from a better place to a worse place,” he charged.
Naming some prominent Masvingo white farmers, Bhasikiti claimed that one of the implicated ministers had been “offered cattle and money to save the farmer”.
“He went to the farm thrice trying to stop black people who were given land to settle just because he was promised some goodies,’ adding that (the two ministers) “have been protecting white farmers in the area and we are saying no to such corruption”.
He said this was the reason why “the same noise” was being made about the farm in Masvingo East that (Tourism minister Walter) Mzembi was allocated.
“There is no infrastructure there to carry out his projects and the remainder was left unallocated to that white farmer. But now they (the two ministers) want to deny Mzembi from carrying out the projects because they were promised some financial benefits,” he claimed.
Asked if he had not now assumed a belligerent stance because he had lost his job, Bhasikiti said he was on “the side of the truth and the voiceless”.
“I stand for the voiceless and I will speak about corruption, if they want to investigate this I stand ready to assist in any way because people will continue to suffer when leaders fight for their stomachs and we end up talking about sanctions,” he said. Daily News