The Herald (Harare)

25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Mawere Joins ANC, Denies Leading UMD

BUSINESSMAN Mr Mutumwa Mawere appears to have joined South Africa's ruling African National Congress with indications he contested for a position in the lower ranks of the party last year.

Mr Mawere has been living in South Africa for some years now.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that Mr Mawere was nominated and contested for a position in the lower ranks of the ANC last year.

This is happening at a time when Mr Mawere is being linked to a newly formed political party in the country - the United Movement for Democracy.

Mr Mawere, however, disassociated himself from the party in an interview with The Herald from South Africa on Wednesday.

He grudgingly confirmed joining the ANC.

Asked to comment on joining the President Jacob Zuma-led party, Mr Mawere said he was nominated for a position in that party "by my branch here".

"Yes, yes, I was nominated by the structures here, by my branch. It is a branch that I am chairman," he said.

Mr Mawere would neither deny nor confirm running for an office in the ANC.

The business mogul, however, became evasive, describing The Herald's interest in his political activities in South Africa as "irrelevant".

He, however, said he would contest for any position even when "nominated in England".

The businessman also confirmed being a South African citizen.

Mr Mawere said he was comfortable discussing "bread and butter" issues surrounding the fate of Shabanie-Mashava Mines.

He said: "When I came here I did not advertise. Why would you worry about me?"

Mr Mawere is battling to regain control of the asbestos mines, which Government is trying to revive through its mining vehicle -- the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

Mr Mawere denied leading the UMD and professed ignorance over its existence.

Reports say the UMD is making inroads especially in areas perceived to be MDC-T strongholds like Chitungwiza and the Midlands province.

In the Midlands, a number of councillors fired from the MDC-T, among them former Gweru mayor Mr Tedious Chimombe are reported to have joined the UMD where he is the interim national chairman.

Confirming the formation of the UMD on his dismissal from the MDC-T last year, Clr Chimombe said: "In Shona we say kukava dacha huriyambutsa and after being fired from the MDC-T party, I decided not to appeal and move forward after I realised that there was no democracy in the MDC-T party."

He said councillors who were also victims of the MDC-T's "undemocratic" ways, then joined him in the new party.

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