Mugabe a no-show at parliament hearing; Mliswa says 9am too early for 94-year-old

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By Staff Reporter & AFP

FORMER  president Robert Mugabe on Wednesday failed to turn up for a parliamentary hearing where he was due to give evidence on corruption in the diamond mining industry.

The 94-year-old, who is in frail health, had been summoned to a session at 9am, but when he did not show up, lawmakers rescheduled the session for Monday.

Committee head Temba Mliswa, an independent lawmaker, told reporters that the parliamentary committee was “cognizant of the fact that 9:00 am was a bit too early” for the former president to show up.

“We have resolved to write to former president cde RG Mugabe to appear before us on Monday at 2pm,” he said.

He added, “The committee is cognizant of the fact that 9am was a bit too early to ask the former president to be here. As you might know, when he was in office, his cabinet would start at 12pm. We do not want to appear like we want to humiliate him.

“We don’t expect not to get any cooperation from him. Parliament has the power to summon anyone and I don’t think we would want to do that.”

Lawmakers want to question him over his 2016 claim that Zimbabwe lost $15 billion in revenue due to corruption and foreign exploitation in the diamond sector.

Mliswa said if Mugabe fails to show up next week, the committee would sit to decide his fate.

In the past year, several government departments including the central intelligence organisation (CIO), police, mining entities, the mines ministry’s former as well as present office holders have given oral evidence before the committee. 

Representatives of some of the mining entities gave strong evidence incriminating the police in the looting spree while the CIO has been struggling to account for its operations.

The ZRP arm responsible for curbing mineral leakages recently admitted the system was prone to leaks owing to serious underfunding of the unit and executive interference.

However, the police is yet to pick up on pf of those implicated in hearings for investigation-something that has made parliament be viewed as a toothless dog.

The parliamentary committee has also not invited the military despite it having owned several diamond concessions in Marange.

Zimbabwe discovered alluvial diamonds in 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.