Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has distanced himself from the chaos in the country’s mining sector amid allegations that those close to the First Family are the kingpins behind a smuggling and mine-grabbing syndicate.In a statement on Thursday night, Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba chastised the media for allegedly peddling “malicious claims” linking the Zimbabwean leader with a racket involved in the smuggling of minerals out of the country as well as conflicts over disputed ownership of mines.
Charamba dismissed a story in Thursday’s edition of the privately owned NewsDay that claimed that one of the president’s nephews, Tarirai David Mnangagwa, is involved in a dispute over the ownership of gold mine grab.
“The Office of the President and Cabinet continues to view with consternation what clearly is a sustained media campaign by NewsDay and other syndicated online news outlets against His Excellency the President ED Mnangagwa, the First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa, and children of the First Family as involved or associated with alleged crimes and conflicts in the mining sector,” Charamba said.
He demanded that the media should get its facts right before rushing to publish the stories, especially against the backdrop of allegations that some prominent individuals linked to the ruling ZANU PF have been name-dropping by using names of the First Family to evade arrest.
“The Office further urges the media to refrain from publishing such malicious claims which have now become more of a norm, quite contrary to the standards and dictates of professional journalism,” the official said.
Names of members of the First Family have popped up in a number of high-profile cases of illegal dealings in the mining sector.
In a recent case involving an attempt to smuggle gold by former Zimbabwe Football Association chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, one of her accomplices told the police that the gold belong to Mnangagwa’s wife.
The First Lady has, however, denied the claims.