PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is blocking attempts to bring to book the minister of State for Masvingo, Ezra Chadzamira (pictured), who was arrested by investigators from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on allegations of corruptly allocating land to his proxies in the province, but the anti-corruption body has not given up on the case, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Chadzamira was briefly arrested by Zacc investigators last Monday but prosecutors at Masvingo magistrates’ court declined to arraign him and advised the anti-corruption watchdog that the case will proceed by way of summons.
This was after Chadzamira sought Mnangagwa’s help after Zacc swooped in on him following investigations.
Officials in Masvingo say Mnangagwa’s intervention proves that his anti-corruption fight is not sincere. Mnangagwa’s stance is in sharp contrast to Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema’s “zero tolerance” to corruption, where he publicly declared that he will never interfere with the operations of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia in its duties.
Hichilema made the announcement as he opened the first session of the 13th national assembly. Zambia’s anti-corruption body on Wednesday welcomed Hichilema’s statement. The body also revealed that 87 corruption cases had been reported since Zambia’s election last month, 55 of which related to politically exposed persons.
Chadzamira is Mnangagwa’s political ally but has been facing pressure from a faction aligned to Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga which wants him arrested for corruption. There is also a push for him to be suspended from the party on corruption allegations.
In January 2020 Chadzamira as the chairperson of the provincial lands committee instructed Chiredzi district lands committee through a phone call to stop convening meetings. Despite the ban, several people continued to receive land with the approval of the provincial leadership in the Lowveld district, a move which angered locals and war veterans.
A high-powered delegation of war veterans from Chiredzi visited Chiwenga’s office to lodge the complaint against Chadzamira, a move which resulted in the former military commander ordering the minister of state to reverse the allocations.
Beneficiaries were allocated plots under a project developed by Tongaat Hullet for government in Hippo Valley. Chiwenga cited corruption and segregation of the Chiredzi people in the project as reasons for the reversal.
A senior Zanu PF official in Masvingo told The NewsHawks that were it was not for Mnangwaga, Chadzamira could have been locked up. He said Chadzamira was one of Mnangagwa’s strongest allies in the province from the time Mugabe was toppled through a coup in November 2017.
“These fights against Chadzamira in the province are not yet over. The faction aligned to Chiwenga is still pushing for his arrest and they are pushing for his arrest and suspension from government. The team is not resting on its quest to have this man arrested. This faction is now gaining ground in Masvingo, a province which is always used by Zanu PF leaders as a battleground to declare their interests” said the official. A senior government official in Masvingo told The NewsHawks that the case against Chadzamira is more political than criminal since what he is accused of is similar to what other government officials are doing.