- April 5, 2019
- Posted in NEWS
The high court of Zimbabwe recently announced that the elections that brought Henrietta Rushwaya to the helm of Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) were questionable. However counter accusations are rife amongst miners that they are the rightful owners of ZMF and their decision to support Rushwaya can not be subverted by one Association out of the Current 50 affiliates. Furthermore the issue of the old executives continued efforts to cling on to power even after 15 years has been exposed as questionable on different avenues.
Reports show that in early May 2018, small scale miners under ZMF petitioned a letter to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando to call for elections to usher in a new leadership and replace the old one, whose term of office had expired on the 26th of April 2018 the same year.
The then ZMF president Ishmael Kaguru responded to the outcry of miners saying that it was wrong for the federation’s membership to insinuate that he is clinging on to power, he also said that his leadership was willing to hold elections but was tied up due to lack of funds.
Old Executives continued efforts to cling on to power even after 15 years has been exposed and is questionable on different avenues.
Miners were also accusing the old executive of clinging to power in 2015 unscrupulously without the grace of all interested parties, one miner said that the elections were done Nicodemusly.
A group of ZMF members claim that towards the end of 2017, some members sought the executive to hold elections so that when their term ended, those elected would quickly take over. However the executive was so reluctant to hold elections until their term expired.
According to one member of ZMF who refused to be named, the elections were later funded by the miners who were clamoring for change.
“Miners pushed for the June 2018 elections themselves because they were tired of the old serving and incompetent executive who’s fifteen year tenure had seen the miners remain stagnant” he said.
However, according to some members of the new Executive, the former executives sought to disrupt the newly elected Executives by filing the court application seeking to nullify the election.
“It was later discovered that while Miners were attending the election process an aggrieved official of the Zvishavane/ Mberengwa Miners Association who had subsequently lost the Chairmanship position during the election process had filed a High Court application which was to be heard on the 14th of June, 2018” they said.
The group of miners under the banner Zvishavane – Mberengwa Miners’ Association (ZMMA) accused Rushwaya of attempting to take over the leadership of ZMF through unorthodox means. They filed an application at the High Court seeking an order to block the holding of the elections and to have them indefinitely rescheduled arguing that Ms Rushwaya wanted to usurp ZMF leadership through unconstitutional means.
According to one member of Zimbabwe Artisanal and Small scale Miners Council (ZASMC) the old executive was seeking to make things right rather than returning and clinging to power.
“Our understanding of the Kaguru led Executive is that they are not clinging to power but they want things to be done correctly and according to the ZMF constitution” he said.
The ZASMC Executive Member went on to say that the old council want only 14 associations to convene a General Council meeting and plan for the next election.
“They want the 14 affiliates as of prior to June 2018 to convene a general council meeting and put a roadmap leading fresh and fair elections. They are aware that their term expired but they just want fairness” he said.
However, his view did not go down well with some members of the new Executive who labeled the former Executive’s plans as a shameless example of self-interest and a way of seeking to return to power at all costs.
“The whole ZMF comprised of 30 affiliated associations at the time of voting as Miners came from all provinces during the period leading up to elections to oust the old executive, why would they want to elect the New Executive without the grace of other associations they queried? The New Executives cited that it was concerning that out of the 30 associations that participated in the election only the complainants association deemed the election not above board yet the constitution clearly states that the General Council which is made up of all 30 Associations votes in Executives and has final say on ZMF Business so how can one association attempt to hold the Federation hostage under the old Executive whom we voted out” they said.
The ZASMC Executive Member also said that it is vital for only associations who were affiliated without controversy to hold elections.
“The 14 associations that were affiliated according to the old executive records should be the only participants and their claim makes sense in that the Rushwaya Executive actually created fictitious associations and paid for them in order for them to be voted in. There is proof that someone paid for some associations but we are saying with or without those associations the general council as the supreme body must now maintain its integrity by being transparent” he said.
However, new the executive slammed for being absolute in the name of holding the constitutionalism.
“The issue at hand is that due to the unpopularity of the old executive there were payments and affiliations recorded in the time frame leading up to the elections as Miners made a consolidated effort to oust the old executive it is necessary to make note Ministry officials were present to oversee the numbers in attendance and registers are available for assessment. Even as we speak ZMF membership has risen to 50 affiliate associations. Are we then saying only the voice of 14 miner associations out of 50 associations will participate and be heard? And the forever dominant question remains why did members of the Old Executive Grace the elections if they were not above board to date we are yet to get a proper response to this question” they declared.
Another Executive pointed out that a the Rushwaya led executive had decided to form a new organisation prior to the release of the court order as they were encountering numerous challenges using the ZMF Banner and upon the decision to on board unregistered miners, change of constitution would be required and the Federation needed to take a new direction including encompassing other minerals primarily base minerals and semi precious who have active representatives championing their challenges within the Federation Structures. In light of the current situation Miners would prefer a new direction.
ZMF advocate said that, the federation is just a federation which is formed in terms of its constitution and there is nothing that stops anyone in Zimbabwe from forming an organisation using its own constitution and their own trust and miners are free to do that.
Tapson Dzvetero also said that, it was premature for Kaguru’s executive to celebrate as the matter was subject to litigation.
“The matter is still subject to litigation because there has been an appeal that has been lodged against that order. So it is still sub judice and it is premature for you to say they have lost when there is still an appeal which is pending. The effect of the appeal is to suspend the effect of the order that they are currently in possession. So you have to await the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue, Meanwhile there is nothing to stop the formation of a new organisation” he said.
According to one member of the new executive, miners reserve the right to affiliate to whomever they wish and the organisation with the largest number of affiliates should be the rightful voice of the Miners.
“Many miners were no longer keen to affiliate with ZMF old executive due to the numerous shenanigans and unscrupulous activities that were taking place this is a well known fact in mining circles and communities. It appears as though the Supreme Court will decide on the ZMF issue however Miners will be free to unite under which ever organisation they choose to continue advocating for sector changes and advancement” she said.