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Published On: Sun, Jan 4th, 2015

Mnangagwa wants to tread carefully

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Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa does not want to involve himself in controversial projects that are characterised by corruption such as the Lasch Investment saga where hundreds of farmers were duped of millions of dollars, his close associates said yesterday.

On Wednesday Mnangagwa refused to address hundreds of farmers who were duped by Lasch, a Zanu PF linked company in a botched farm inputs scheme.

The farmers had demanded Mnangagwa’s audience but the Acting President asked them to present their demands in writing.

However sources close to Mnangagwa yesterday said the VP did not want to get involved in controversial projects which involved ousted senior party officials such as the former secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa.

“Mnangagwa is not snubbing the farmers as reported in the media,” said a close associate. “These projects were being spear-beheaded by Mutasa and other ousted officials who were accused of corruption. No sane person would want to be involved in such a matter unless President Robert Mugabe gives the green light,” said the official.

Former Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya-Moyo, deposed secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and Agriculture Minister Joseph Made presided over the launch of the Lasch deal.
Mutasa, Khaya-Moyo and Made could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Another Mnangagwa associate insisted the VP wanted to get to the gist of the matter so as to appreciate who was wrong in the first place and how the perpetrators could be brought to book.

“The story indicated correctly that the acting president advised the farmers to compile their grievances in writing and send them to his office. So where is the snubbing coming from?” asked the source.

About 500 farmers are angry with the Zanu PF leadership which led them to join the input scheme which has failed to deliver as promised.

Lasch entered into an agreement with farmers and urged them to contribute money to access farm inputs for the 2014-15 farming season, but failed to deliver the inputs. Angry farmers then camped for weeks at the company’s Willowvale offices in Harare and also at the Zanu PF headquarters demanding their inputs.
Five Lasch executives, among them Zanu PF national youth director Tapiwa Zengeya and Patience Chipere have already been arrested on charges of defrauding the farmers.

Mugabe on Friday reportedly dispatched Zanu PF Youth League secretary, Pupurai Togarepi and party chief administrator, Dickson Dzora to negotiate with the farmers and promised to secure a loan on their behalf through a local bank.

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