In a shocking turn of events, a member of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family has been found guilty of attempting to smuggle gold worth over $330,000.
Henrietta Rushwaya, who serves as the president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, was apprehended at the airport with gold bars weighing 6kg in her possession while en route from Harare to Dubai. The contents of her handbag were picked up by an airport scanner, revealing the illicit goods.
Ms. Rushwaya, who claimed to have picked up the wrong bag, now faces charges of presenting an invalid export license. In Zimbabwe, all gold exports must be accompanied by the necessary permit.
Despite not being biologically related to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Ms. Rushwaya is considered his niece according to the traditions of their Shona ethnic group. She has been remanded into custody and awaits her sentencing, scheduled for November 10.
Two agents from the country’s national intelligence agency were also charged alongside Ms. Rushwaya. However, they were acquitted due to a lack of substantial evidence. The allegations against them and Ms. Rushwaya were exposed by journalists from Al Jazeera, who conducted an undercover investigation. The journalists highlighted the rampant smuggling of gold out of Zimbabwe to the United Arab Emirates, with various individuals having connections to senior government officials.
According to the investigation, these individuals exploited networks of dormant companies, forged invoices, and bribed officials to facilitate their illegal activities. The revelations prompted the Zimbabwean government to announce a full-scale investigation into the matter.
In an official statement, the government emphasized its commitment to combating corruption, fraud, and all forms of criminal behavior, affirming that those found guilty would face severe consequences.
The gold smuggling scandal has sent shockwaves throughout Zimbabwe, casting a shadow of doubt over the integrity of some government officials. Many citizens have expressed their outrage and demanded justice, calling for a thorough investigation to unearth the full extent of the gold smuggling network. This incident has only deepened the existing concerns regarding corruption and illicit activities within the country.
Upon assuming office in 2017 following a military coup against former leader Robert Mugabe, President Mnangagwa made a solemn commitment to combat corruption. Despite being re-elected for a second term with 52.6% of the vote just months ago, the opposition claims that the election was riddled with extensive fraudulent activities. Detractors argue that there has been minimal progress since his presidency commenced.
The Zimbabwean government, under President Mnangagwa’s leadership, has repeatedly vowed to eradicate corruption and restore transparency. However, incidents like these highlight the challenges the government faces in achieving these objectives. It is crucial for the government to hold all those involved accountable and implement robust measures to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.
Furthermore, the gold smuggling case serves as a stark reminder of the need for stronger regulations and enforcement mechanisms to curb illegal activities in Zimbabwe’s mining sector.
The country is rich in mineral resources, including gold, and it is imperative for the government to prioritize the sustainable development of this sector. Strict adherence to export regulations and robust oversight are essential to prevent the exploitation of Zimbabwe’s resources for personal gain.
As the sentencing of Henrietta Rushwaya approaches, all eyes will be on the court’s decision and the subsequent actions taken by the Zimbabwean government. This case presents an opportunity for the government to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and fighting corruption. Restoring public trust and ensuring accountability are vital for the country’s stability and progress.