ZANU PF Manicaland provincial youth league leader Mubuso Chinguno’s problems over alleged illegal land deals continued to mount yesterday, with the ruling party and the government despatching probe teams to Chipinge to investigate the matter.
The investigations were triggered by party youth, mainly from Chipinge South constituency, who demonstrated on Tuesday, accusing Chinguno of embezzling over $400 000 mobilised towards servicing residential stands for party supporters in the province.
The protesters claimed that Chinguno formed a private company, Causepun Investments, to service the stands, which he allegedly used as a conduit to siphon money from the ruling party’s housing project.
Chinguno yesterday confirmed that some of the company’s directors were spouses of the youth league executives.
“’Yes, our wives are the directors of the company, but I know my sin is that I have been defending First Lady Grace Mugabe. I want the Local Government ministry to conduct a probe because I know everything was done above board,” he said.
Sources told NewsDay that Chinguno was last year given about 300 hectares by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere as part of a nationwide scheme that benefited Zanu PF youth only.
“You will remember Kasukuwere gave large tracts of land to party youth in Chishawasha (east of Harare) and there were stands doled out in Bulawayo and Masvingo, among other provinces. When the President (Robert Mugabe) advised that we begin to look at building flats instead of horizontal development, the youth league stopped everything,” NewsDay heard.
It is alleged that Chinguno went on to establish a private office in Chipinge from where he collected money from party youth as well as civil servants interested in joining the scheme.
Kasukuwere confirmed he had given land, but could not shed details on the Chipinge saga.
“You are aware that we gave land to the youth, but I am not in the picture as to what is happening in Chipinge. We will send a team to investigate the issues,” he said .
Zanu PF national youth leader, Kudzanai Chipanga said he would soon meet representatives from Manicaland on the issue.
“I cannot say much at the moment suffice to say we have taken note of the report and we will be investigating. I have also been alerted that our leadership in Manicaland will be presenting a report to the leadership soon. We will take it up from there,” he said.
But Chinguno blamed his problems on internal divisions within the ruling party and youth league.
“It’s factionalism,” the beleaguered provincial youth league leader said.
He claimed he was being blackmailed for calling for the expulsion of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he described as a “cancer that should be removed”.
But sources this week said Chinguno’s anti-Mnangagwa remarks last week were part of a plot to duck criminal charges he was facing.
“It was a choreographed statement meant to solicit protection from the President and First Lady. He wants to paint a picture of a G40 supporter under siege. The land issues have been on the table for months now, but his handlers want to play smart,” a Zanu PF source said.