SOUTH African-based tycoon Mutumwa Mawere says he will re-engage former South African president Thabo Mbeki to help him reclaim his business empire grabbed by the government in 2004.
The beleaguered businessman has been involved in an ownership wrangle with the government over SMMH since the state transferred his shares to government shelf companies AMG Global Nominees and Nickdale Investments in 2004.
Mawere told the Zimbabwe Independent on Saturday he was still hopeful of regaining control of the mines he lost after being declared a specified person over allegations of externalisation.
After fighting a series of court battles which failed to return his businesses, Mawere then sought Mbeki's help in 2009. Mbeki engaged President Robert Mugabe, who reportedly agreed to help return the mines to the businessman, but the assets were never handed back to him.
Talks between Mawere and the government later collapsed after Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and SMMH administrator Arafas Gwaradzimba insisted Mugabe and Reserve Bank Gono could not interfere with court processes since that would set a bad precedent. Gono, in consultation with Mugabe, following Mbeki's intervention, has been pushing government to give back Mawere his assets.
Mawere thinks the problem is mainly individuals who want to tarnish Mugabe's image.
"I have always held the view that President Mugabe is fed lies by vultures and barbarians with a worldview that tarnishes his image and undermines his legacy. I have no doubt that in the post-Mugabe era, both Chinamasa and Mines minister Obert Mpofu will blame President Mugabe who may not be there to defend himself," he said.
It seemed as though his bid to reclaim the seized businesses had received a major boost in 2010 when the government lifted his specification along with that of two other business executives.
However, Mawere said he would not give up fighting a "corrupt system" seizing private property.
"What I am fighting is a corrupt system that endorses laws that hinder progress in the country and rob what others have worked for," said Mawere. "Unless and until such laws are repealed, then we shall continue to witness decay of the economy as well as the closure of companies and organisations, leaving Zimbabweans poorer and jobless."â-¯
Speculation is rife Mawere's fallout with Mnangagwa and his powerful Zanu PF faction, to which Chinamasa belongs, is the real story behind the SMMH saga. "Although the climb is full of setbacks and will not be easy, I would rather fight on than give in to blackmail and obfuscation," he said.