DIAMONDS Probe: Parly says won’t embarrass frail Mugabe; will veteran leader turn up?

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By Wendy Muperi

ATTENTION will likely focus on Parliament this Wednesday with locals keen to see whether former President Robert Mugabe will answer summons regarding the looting of Marange diamonds.

A legislative committee is probing the scandal and wants to hear from the nonagenarian after he sensationally claimed that the country was robbed of about $15bln in diamond revenues.

The committee is confident Mugabe will make himself available.

“Once parliament writes to you, you appear. There is no response of him not coming,” mines portfolio committee chair Temba Mliswa told journalists on Monday.

Mugabe has not been seen in public since his ouster last November although the veteran leader gave a damning interview to local and international media from his plush Harare home condemning the manner in which his 37-year reign was dramatically ended.

The 94-year-old is thought to be struggling with old age and related poor health.

Mliswa said his committee was open to interviewing the former head of state at his ‘Blue Roof’ mansion.

“We are not on a witch hunting escapade. We are equally aware that the president also is getting frail. The culture also demands that we respect him,” he said.

“Our committee also resolved that if we can go to his house through parliament by giving us permission why not?

“I think what is important is to get the information that we want. We are not here to embarrass him. We are cognizant of the role he played being the president of this country.”

Zimbabwe discovered alluvial diamonds at Chiadzwa, in the east of the country, more than 10 years ago.

Rights groups have accused security forces of using brutal methods to control the scattered deposits.

Mliswa’s parliamentary committee has already interviewed former ministers, police and intelligence chiefs on mining at Chiadzwa.