The Zimbabwe Miners Federation boss Henrietta Rushwaya was arrested in a movie-style at the Robert Mugabe International Airport on Monday as she attempted to fly out to Dubai with 6kg of gold without export documents, the Zim Morning Post has heard.
Sources told the Zim Morning Post that Rushwaya arrived at the Airport in the company of two “aides” who played a movie-style technique to make sure she could quickly be cleared without undergoing heavy body searches.
“She was being driven in her car while the aides used their own vehicle,” said the source.
“One of the aides, Steven Tserayi quickly accompanied her into the lobby before proceeding to the passport check point.
“Tserayi also ordered that the CCTV be briefly switched off and within a short period Rushwaya had completed all processes which normally take between 10 to 20 minutes.”
The source said Tserayi then left Rushwaya after making sure she was about to go to the boarding lobby.
It was around the boarding lobby that she was asked by officers from the Military Intelligence what she had in her hand luggage.
The involvement of the military intelligence brings into play another dimension to the whole saga.
The source said Rushwaya tried to call Tserayi back but the aide had already left for State House.
“After noticing that something had gone wrong Tserayi refused to come back to the Airport.”
“He even said he had never set foot at the airport on the day in question.”
“Police then called the Central Intelligence boss Isaac Moyo and explained what had transpired.”
Tserayi was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after his boss notified President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Observers say it is the presence of the two presidential aides that complicates the issue and drags Mnangagwa into the mud.
Whose gold is it?
Since her arrest on Monday, questions have been raised about the owner of the gold Rushwaya was about to smuggle to Dubai.
Upon her arrest, Rushwaya dragged into the saga, Transnational car dealers, Ali Japan 786, after she stated that the gold belonged to them.
Speculation is also rife that Rushwaya could have been a runner for powerful government officials, with some even claiming she is related to Mnangagwa hence the gold could have been from the highest office.
Is Rushwaya related to Mnangagwa?
The Rushwaya family comes from Mberengwa, a district in the Midlands province where Mnangagwa also comes from. To be precise the Rushwaya family hails from Mponjane, which is near Mataga growth point.
The Mnangagwas on the other hand, are from Dambudzo village in Mapanzure near Zvishavane.
By virtue of being Midlanders the Rushwayas and the Mnangagwa are in what can be called ‘homies’ in street lingo and such ties can be stronger and closer than blood relations.
Is politics at play?
Some observers have said factional politics could be at play in Zanu PF and Rushwaya can just be a victim of the factional fights playing out in the ruling Zanu PF.
“Rushwaya is close to Mnangagwa and it is common knowledge that factionalism in Zanu PF has reached unprecedented levels.
“Mnangagwa and his deputy Constantino Chiwenga are engaged in a vicious fight to control the party ahead of 2023 elections.”
“Factionalism is oiled by sponsors so that a war chest is built well in advance. Rushwaya is most likely helping Mnangagwa build a war chest and this got into the ears of his number two.”
“Just look at how Rushwaya was arrested. Within minutes the news was all over social media giving no time for Mnangagwa to influence her release.”
Power struggles within ZMF
Since inception, there have been power struggles within ZMF which saw Rushwaya winning her presidency after some legal battles.
Insiders said ZMF has endured protracted power struggles which resulted in other officials resigning.
“Unfortunately ZMF had three vice Presidents and one of them would have been acting now but all of them resigned,” the source said.
“Blessing Hungwe was the first one to resign a few months after the election.
“Engineer Murove resigned next and a Marufu just stopped attending meetings.This shows something was extremely wrong in the organisation. Rushwaya has been accused of railroading her way out.”
Test case for the rule of law
Rushwaya’s proximity to the echelons of power presents a test case for the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Whatever happens, her case will be used to test judiciary independence. This puts whoever is hearing it in a difficult position.
Upon her initial hearing at the courts both the defence team and the State had agreed that Rushwaya be given bail.
However, barely 24 hours later magistrate Ngoni Nduna made a spectacular U-turn and objected to the granting of bail.
All eyes are on Nduna who has also ordered that more investigations be carried out as there is evidence that more people could have been involved in the smuggling racket.
Nduna argues that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had not given compelling reasons why they consented to bail without opposing it.
— Zim Morning Post