Mawere angered Mugabe with talks proposal
Mawere tried to use former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi to broker talks between Mugabe and opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai following Zanu PF's disputed 2000 parliamentary elections victory.
Mawere revealed this for the first time as he answered questions from New Zimbabwe.com readers for three hours on Thursday. He became the second guest to be invited to answer questions from readers after Professor Jonathan Moyo.
He fears Mugabe's angry reaction to his suggestion marked the beginning of the collapse of his business empire in Zimbabwe.
"With respect to President Muluzi, I did speak to him after the 2000 elections with respect to the need for Zanu PF and MDC to put the interests of the country at the centre of their actions and find a resolution to the crisis," Mawere said.
"I spoke to Tsvangirai about the need for the then SADC Chairman to play a part in the post-election attempts to find a common ground between the two parties. However, President Mugabe refused to speak to me and my attempt did not yield any results. President Muluzi could, therefore, not play any role.
"At the time,
I strongly felt that it was important for the political players to take
leadership and put the national interest at the core of their engagement.
"Even those who say Zimbabwe will never be a colony again are not aware of the missed opportunities and the fact that they have condemned our generation to a footnote of history while we seek to give credit to political godfathers that we create in our minds for business progress," he said.
Mawere took South African citizenship in 1995. His troubles began last year when he was accused of externalising foreign currency from the sale of asbestos from his Shabani Mashaba Mine.
After the government failed in its bid to get him extradited to Zimbabwe, his assets were seized by the state. The matter is currently being fought before Zimbabwean and British courts.
In a wide-ranging discussion with our readers, Mawere also touched on President Robert Mugabe's "Look East" policy. He said it showed Zimbabwe was "still in the days of Chairman Mao and the cultural revolution."
"I am not sure whether China would be where it is without the West. Is it not amazing that today more and more Chinese are integrated into the global market place and yet we seem to be make choices as if the world is divided into east and west," Mawere observed.
"Even the Chinese are all too aware that the west has its own contribution to human progress and ideologically China has transformed from the days of the cultural revolution. Zimbabwe seems to be still in the days of the cultural revolution and guess who is playing the role of Chairman Mao?"
Mawere also wrote of his concerns at the lack of protection for property rights in Zimbabwe, and expressed regret at inviting foreign investors whose businesses have been grabbed by the government.
"You may recall that I tried to encourage non-resident Zimbabweans to invest in the country," he said, "but in hind sight, I should not have been naive. I have a number of non-resident Zimbabweans who invested in First Bank, Zimre, THZ and other listed companies who have lost their investment because of the expropriation.
"The government believes that the proceeds from export activities belong to the state and therefore it is now criminal to be involved in the foreign currency market. When Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono took over, you can appreciate the turning point better. For the first time in Zimbabwean history, externalisation became a worse crime than murder."
Mawere also revealed how his friendship with Professor Jonathan Moyo went sour when the latter joined President Robert Mugabe's government. They met while they were both studying in the United States.
"I never thought
that he would ever land back on this earth," said Mawere. "I
am, therefore, encouraged that the human spirit always has surprises.
At one stage I became scared for his own sake because I never thought
he would be human again. It is nice to see him come back and become
relentless as ever."
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