…Zacc’s political agenda under spotlight
ZANU PF insiders and lawyers representing Gokwe-Nembudziya Member of Parliament Justice Mayor Wadyajena claim his arrest this week was a political manifestation of internal squabbles and deep-rooted factionalism in the ruling party ahead of its elective congress in October.
Wadyajena, a close ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is accused within Zanu PF circles of using the Lands and Agriculture committee of Parliament to target known allies of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga to incriminate them in opaque deals and tenders.
The young MP, however, dismisses the narrative, insisting he is only doing his job.
His lawyers on Thursday said the MP was a victim of political hawks within Zanu PF, describing his charge as malicious.
Wadyajena was on Tuesday arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on allegations of fraud and money laundering amounting to US$5 million.
He was arrested together with Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) officials Pius Manamike, Maxmore Njanji, Fortunate Molai and Pierpont Moncroix Ltd director Chiedza Danha.
“This matter involving the 4th accused person will turn out to be the biggest scandal after the Quail birds, Zviuta, that rocked the country at some point,” Wadyajena’s lawyer, Oliver Marwa, said while raising a red flag over Zacc’s role in allegedly pushing a political agenda.
“This matter has been abducted by Zacc and forced Cottco to lie that it has been stolen from,” he added.
He said Cottco has stated it received what it paid for. Wadyajena alleged that Zacc is working for “other political forces”.
“Zacc is acting as cousin of some political hawks to discredit the accused person. There can never be anything more evil than what Zacc is doing to the 4th accused person,” he said.
He lashed out at Zacc, accusing it of falling into a political trap and seemingly confirming the public sentiment that it was using the commission to settle scores without evidence hence inviting the “catch and release” moniker on themselves relating to political actors.
“This court is dragged into unenviable political games and Zacc has become a catch-and-release entity. They have nothing whatsoever against the 4th accused person,” Marwe added.
Harrison Nkomo, the lawyer of the other accused persons, accused investigators of a shoddy job, saying the investigating officers’ report was a shambles.
As chairperson of the National Assembly’s Lands committee, Wadyajena has summoned Zanu PF officials, including Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara for hearings in what some Zanu PF insiders said was a political move in line of his faction’s agenda.
Musarara is Zanu PF district coordinating committee (DCC) chairperson for Mazowe.
After he summoned the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and Grindale Engineering over a controversial US$87 million tender, Wadyajena was seen as targeting Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka.
The Zanu PF DCC chairperson for Gokwe-North in the Midlands province was arrested immediately after chairing and exposing possible underhand dealings over the Vungu Dam project.
Zacc invited Wadyajena for an interview on the morning of the scheduled committee meeting.
He was arrested immediately after Mnangagwa, who he describe as his godfather, had flown out to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a Southern African Development Community summit that ends this Friday. Chiwenga is acting President.
Zanu PF goes to congress in October where, according to a circular issued by secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, will see the party electing a new president if Chiwenga or anyone chooses to challenge Mnangagwa.
Campaigning ahead of congress has already begun, with Mnangagwa loyalists under the MenBelieveED banner, working with other stakeholders, planning a march ostensibly to show the politician’s popularity.
The march has been viewed as a campaign by Mnangagwa to portray himself as popular ahead of congress, but the politicking has angered some party bigwigs who accuse him of using outside structures while ignoring party organs that have shown little liking for him of late.