The Sunday News
Nkosilathi Sibanda, Business Correspondent
ALLEGATIONS of vote buying and back biting have rocked the country’s small-scale mining body, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) ahead of the organisation’s annual congress, which is expected to usher in a new executive.
ZMF acting president Mr Ishmael Kaguru said the organisation has it in good authority that certain individuals were clandestinely canvassing to be elected for executive posts at the congress.
“We are aware that some of our member associations are being influenced to vote in a certain way by some individuals who are even giving kickbacks and as an organisation we are not condoning this as it is tantamount to vote buying,” he said.
The incumbent executive led by acting president Mr Kaguru has been at the helm of the small scale miners governing body for the past 10 years.
Their term of office ended on 25 April. Mr Kaguru took over as ZMF president following the resignation of Mrs Apolonia Munzverengwi earlier this year.
The incumbent ZMF boss said it had also come to the organisation’s attention that some of the people who were canvassing for positions were not even from the mining sector. Mr Kaguru refuted allegations that his executive was unconstitutionally holding onto power despite the expiry of its tenure.
“ZMF belongs to the miners and as such no one is clinging to office in the executive. We follow procedures as enshrined in our constitution. So, let it be known to our members that elections are coming. We don’t want people with ulterior motives of reversing the significant gains and contributions done to the economy by our miners,” he said.
Just a week ago, some of the office aspirants pressured a section of the ZMF membership to present a petition to the Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, to help expedite elections of the new leadership. Mr Kaguru said such a move was not warranted.
“The reasons why we are yet to hold elections are centred on the issue of funding for the hosting of the congress and the fact that over the past weeks it was quite hectic with major events such as the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and the ruling party’s primary elections. We were surprised to hear that there was a petition presented to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. We had actually written a letter to the Minister on 30 April advising him on the issue (of the congress).
“The Minister then set an appointment to meet us on 7 May. Our genuine members know the procedure on how to deliver complaints and this is done through the office of the chief executive officer and the general council chairperson. However, up to now we are puzzled as to what kind of leaders ZMF would have if there are people who are quick to bend rules and circumvent laid down channels of communication,” he said.
Mr Kaguru said the date of the congress would be set at a general council meeting to be held in Gweru on 1 June.
“On the 1st of June we are convening a meeting of the general council in Gweru will all associations affiliated to ZMF. At the meeting we are going to agree on the date to hold elections and there is going to be a thorough check on the eligibility of those who want to be voted in,” he said.