Vice President, Kembo Mohadi, is in Juba, South Sudan, to negotiate for a potential crude petroleum deal, that will see President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s embattled regime, attempt to solve the country’s perennial fuel crisis by building a new refinery in Zimbabwe with the help of Iran.
High level sources in the presidency said Mnangagwa has been working with Iran on the oil refinery issue for years, and that Tehran is now eager to construct a new state of the art oil refinery in the country, therefore explaining government’s hunt for cheap crude oil supplies from South Sudan. Zimbabwe has been searching for reliable fuel supplies in vain from Kuwait, Angola, Sudan, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Iran itself.
The countries that have sustained Zimbabwe although they are not oil producers have largely been South Africa and Botswana.
Zimbabwe used to operate the Feruka Oil Refinery in Mutare which, however, mothballed in 1966. Feruka was constructed in 1965 during the then Rhodesia era, but is now a complete right off, operating as storage facility only after government failed to upgrade the facility. The plant only operated for 15 months and is now currently used as a loading, storage and blending facility without the refinery aspect.
“I can confirm that vice president Kembo Mohadi is in South Sudan to negotiate for crude petroleum, as government’s plans to build a new refinery has reached an advanced stage,” the sources in the presidency said.
“There you have it, it’s no longer a state secret. Iran is also involved and has agreed to construct the refinery in exchange for exclusive rights to mine a classified strategic mineral, which we have in abundance. The oil refinery project has been in the pipeline since 2008, and the late leader Robert Mugabe, actually dispatched Mnangagwa, then a defence minister in 2012 to Tehran where he met their former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to discuss the project in detail. Iran has a lot of interests in this country.”
According to Radio Tamazuj, a daily news service and current affairs broadcaster covering South Sudan, the southern states of Sudan, and the borderlands between the two countries, Mohadi was received at Juba Airport by First Vice President Taban Deng Gai and several senior government officials.
South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Dau Deng said the second VP would meet with President Salva Kiir to hold talks on bilateral relations.
“He will also meet with the First Vice President, Gen. Taban Deng Gai. Also, he will meet with the speaker of the national legislative assembly and the National Pre-Transitional Committee so that he is briefed on the current status of the revitalized peace agreement,” the station quoted the deputy minister.
Crude Petroleum represents 99% of the total exports of South Sudan, followed by Scrap Iron, which accounts for 0.242%.