Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
FORMER Zifa chief executive officer, Ms Henrietta Rushwaya has been taken to court by a group of small scale miners who are accusing her of attempting to take over the leadership of the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation (ZMF) through unorthodox means.
Ms Rushwaya intends to contest in the organisation’s elections scheduled for today for the post of president.
The group of miners under the banner Zvishavane-Mberengwa Miners’ Association (ZMMA) through their lawyers Mutuso, Taruvinga and Mhiribidi Attorneys, filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court citing ZMF as the respondent saying Ms Rushwaya may win through rigging.
They want an interim order interdicting ZMF from proceeding with the elections, arguing that the process is fraught with irregularities and vote buying by Ms Rushwaya.
ZMMA wants the elections for a new ZMF national executive postponed indefinitely citing interference by members of the federation’s general council.
ZMF was formed in 2003, mainly to champion the interests of small scale and artisanal miners.
In his founding affidavit, ZMMA chairperson, Mr Thembinkosi Sibanda said ZMF unprocedurally admitted 13 new associations to join the federation.
He queried Ms Rushwaya’s intention to run for the ZMF presidency yet she is not affiliated to the organisation.
Mr Sibanda said Ms Rushwaya paid $6 500 affiliation fees for the 13 new associations whose admission was irregular and a violation of the ZMF constitution.
“(Ms) Henrietta Rushwaya was during the general council meeting held on June 1, 2018 announced to be the person running for the post of ZMF president in the national executive committee. This was my first time since I have been in the federation to learn that Rushwaya was an affiliate of ZMF, a miner or member of any miners’ association. Is she a miner and which mine does she own?” he queried.
Mr Sibanda said the circumstances under which Ms Rushwaya joined the ZMF was questionable and shrouded in controversy.
“I find it odd that she (Ms Rushwaya) paid subscription fees for the 13 new associations. One wonders what her relationship is with any of or all of these associations to the extent of paying their affiliation fees. This is suspicious and clearly there could be a relationship between the 13 associations and Rushwaya,” he said.
Mr Sibanda said the voting process has already been tainted with impropriety.
“There must be an investigation to establish who the 13 associations are, when did they register and join ZMF and what links do they have with Rushwaya. I submit that voter confidence has been lost in these forthcoming elections, and if the elections are allowed to continue on 14 June 2018 without a proper vetting exercise there is bound to be a likelihood of rigging,” he said.
“My suspicion is strengthened by the fact that Rushwaya is not new to being accused of corruption. She is a former boss at Zifa and was dismissed on allegations of corruption. In light of her previous corruption allegations coupled with the present circumstances, one is bound to keep guard and protect the reputation of ZMF.”
In 2016, Ms Rushwaya was fired as Zifa chief executive officer after a disciplinary tribunal appointed by Zifa ruled that she be dismissed for mismanagement and insubordination. She had been found guilty on the majority of the charges levelled against her.
In February 2012 ,Ms Rushwaya was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on allegations of bribery and match-fixing linked to the Asiagate scandal. She was found guilty of failing to account for a loan made to Zifa of $103 000 and authorising a 2008 trip to Malaysia where elite club Monomotapa masqueraded as the Zimbabwe national team. Ms Rushwaya and her two accomplices, the late former Zifa board member Mr Edzai Kasinauyo and fired Warriors assistant coach Mr Nation Dube were also accused of conniving to fix the Afcon qualifier matches between Swaziland and Zimbabwe. They were however, later cleared of match fixing by a Harare regional magistrate Ms Lucy Mungwari who ruled that the State failed to prove a prima facie case against the trio. She said there was no evidence linking the trio to the scandal.