Mugabe party 'used $70m diamond money to buy poll T-shirts': former minister

Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)
Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

A former cabinet minister in Zimbabwe claims the ruling party used revenue from diamond fields in the east of the country to pay for $70 million worth of T-shirts and caps for the 2013 elections.

Jonathan Moyo, who is one of the most bitter and outspoken of former president Robert Mugabe's allies, claimed that the campaign material was organised by then defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and then defence forces chief, Constantino Chiwenga. Mugabe was ousted in November and replaced by Mnangagwa. 

"In 2013 Zanu-PF used diamond revenues and state funds to buy and ship campaign regalia from DRC and China worth over $70 million," Moyo wrote on Twitter.

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He said party members were "shocked" when they found out the two "had unilaterally done a multi-USD deal in 2012 to buy and ship unapproved 2013 campaign gear from DRC and China".

State visit to China

Neither Mnangagwa, who is now president, nor Chiwenga, who is now vice president, have responded to Moyo’s claims. Mnangagwa has just made a state visit to China.

Top ruling party official, Engelbert Rugeje told a rally last week that millions of caps and T-shirts had been ordered and would soon arrive in Zimbabwe. He did not say where they had been made, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper.  

Zimbabwe’s diamond revenue is currently the subject of a probe by a parliamentary committee that wants to find out if it’s true that $15 billion worth of revenue went missing from the Chiadzwa diamond fields while Mugabe was still president.

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