• Temba Peter Mliswa, a former Zanu PF Provincial chairman and lawmaker has been accused of seizing Paul Westwood’s Noshio Motors (Pvt) Ltd using his political clout. In a petition to the Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, Paul Westwood, an international businessman from the United Kingdom said he appealed for justice through compensation from Temba Mliswa who used Mugabe’s name in vain for personal gain. He said Mliswa had claimed that President Mugabe along with Saviour Kasukuwere, then Minister of Indigenisation had sanctioned the seizure of the company. Westwood’s petition is live and will be presented to the President of Zimbabwe. This is not the first time that Temba Mliswa has been embroiled in controversial dealings, he like many of his affiliates have various scandals under their belts.

    Who is Temba Mliswa?

    Temba Mliswa was a member of the ruling ZANU-PF party, serving as the Member of Parliament for Hurungwe West in Zimbabwe before his ouster and subsequent expulsion from the party. In September 2012, Mliswa revealed his dealings with Muller Conrad “Billy” Rautenbach, a controversial businessman who he helped attain a deal for an Ethanol plant. The Rautenbach fiasco would come back to haunt Mliswa in 2014 when it was reported Mliswa had demanded $100 million for facilitating for coal and platinum concessions and $65 million for the ethanol project. It is also in 2014 that Mliswa along with 11 other ZANU-PF Parliamentarians were accused of spying on behalf of the UK, earning them the name “The ZANU-PF Dirty Dozen”. On February 18, 2015, Mliswa was expelled from the ruling party on “an array of charges ranging from insubordination, denigrating party leaders, interfering with the running of the party’s youths and women’s leagues in the province, extortionist behaviour and continuing disrupting party meetings” This is a controversial man whose deals have not always been transparent.

    Grabbing Noshio Motors

    In 2010, Mliswa, Martin Mutasa and George Marere were arrested on charges of fraud involving $1,05 million. The three allegedly defrauded Paul Westwood of his 50% shares in Nosho Motors. The arrests were robbed of their full intensity by revelations of threats by Mliswa to expose corrupt activities by the chief of Zimbabwean police, Augustine Chihuri. Mliswa alleged that this was a revenge ploy by the Commissioner General of the Police, thus downplaying the whole affair. In June 2011, Mliswa was acquitted of the charge and this is the basis of Westwood’s petition.

    Westwood’s Petition

    In the Petition, Westwood claims Mliswa and his uncle, then Presidential Affairs Minister, Didymus Mutasa bribed magistrates to ensure acquittal. He also says Mliswa harassed, intimidated, maliciously damaged property, made false police reports, looted and went as far as threatening to kill Westwood and his sons. Mliswa’s conduct as already shown was far from desirable during his tenure as a top ZANU-PF official and that he could have committed these disgusting acts with impunity is not something beyond him. The sickening bit about officials in Zimbabwe is that they have as Westwood identified, policies with potential. However, the undoing of their endeavours has been corruption and a system of personal gratification over the good of the state. Policies like the Indigenisation Policy show drafters may have had their minds and hearts in the right places not for the corrupt and shady manner in which company shares are indigenised. In the pyramid of benefits, the politicians are on top and everyone else comes below them. It is such practices that have sadly been the cause of the country’s fall-out with foreign capital. No one should be above the law.

    As more and more people sign the petition to engage President Mugabe on the shenanigans of his former golden boy, it is hard to refrain from thinking of other politicians who will not be exposed because they are still members of the ruling party. Will Zimbabwe always have to wait for expulsions so that cases of corruption and nepotism may be dealt with? Westwood’s petition is not simply a letter to Mugabe. It is a call to examine the whole system and how horribly corrupt it has become. Mliswa may be dealt with now because he no longer has the political muscle of yesteryears but what of those who are sitting in lofty offices even now. Can they be called to account?