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Temba Mliswa: a hero or villain?

26 Jul 2019 at 09:12hrs | Views
The firebrand Norton legislator Temba Peter Mliswa is a refreshing and entertaining contributor to every Parliamentary session he attends. He has won the admiration of many hearts in Norton over his development projects and love for his constituency, the people of Hurungwe speak highly of him and he seems like a powerful public official. Temba is politically astute and street smart and this saw him land the Norton Parliamentary seat as an independent candidate, a feat which many politicians can only admire from a distance as it is difficult to achieve in the Zimbabwean political landscape.

Temba has become a voice for the voiceless and is a darling on the Twitter streets of Zimbabwe or Zwitter. Temba has projected himself as an anti corruption crusader and lone ranger who fears no one. Hon. Mliswa is a very colourful personality and newsmaker in Zimbabwean politics , our very own Julius Malema of sorts.

The question that I seek to explore though is a question that might get me crucified by Temba Mliswa's die hard fans , some has to ask - is Hon. Temba Peter Mliswa a hero or Villain?

Fights

Temba Mliswa as a fitness freak and former trainer is one to never back down from a fight. Temba has been involved in a number of physical and verbal skirmishes. Temba will throw a verbal punch at anyone and any time. Recently he has been throwing verbal punches at ZANU PF officials from Mashonaland West province with Kindness Paradza and Prisca Mpfumira being the latest punching bags. It is clear that Temba Mliswa a former ZANU PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman still has unresolved issues and scores to settle in the province he once chaired. Hon Mliswa's sister happens to be the Resident Minister of the same Mashonaland West province and was once a provincial executive member of the ruling party, clearly Mash West is home to Temba and very dear to his heart.

This love for Mash West got Temba Mliswa into a near fist fight with fellow legislator and Mash West kingmaker Dexter Nduna. The fight between Nduna and Temba went viral and was a blockbuster on the Zimbabwean social media streets.

The intensity and level of the fights that Temba and his temper get himself into make one wonder if Temba Mliswa is a hero.

Temba Mliswa dossier

Temba Peter Mliswa the darling MP of Norton is a man with a history which needs a rocket scientist to unpack it and make sense of it all. Temba Mliswa is intelligent and very street smart enough to get away with anything.

The headline of the Temba Mliswa dossier is the tiff between Hon Mliswa and Conrad Billy Rautenbach. Rautenbach is a member of the Zimbabwe big boys club if ever there were to be such a club. Temba and Rautenbach had a nasty fall out which went public.  

The dramatic fall-out between Mr Rautenbach and Mr Mliswa emerged after the then Hurungwe West legislator claimed that Rautenbach owed him US$165 million for the role he played in securing the former's business interests in Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant, Unki Platinum Mines and Hwange Colliery Company.

Hon Mliswa claimed to have facilitated meetings with high-ranking officials who included then Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa; Dr Obert Mpofu, who was then the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, as well as Mr Tendai Savanhu, who was the chairman of Hwange Colliery.

Hon Mliswa also claimed that then Arda chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza facilitated the Chisumbanje deal in exchange for an upmarket house in Mutare. However , Didmus Mutasa (who is said to be related to  Temba Mliswa) and Nyabadza distanced themselves from the matter leaving Rautenbach and Mliswa to sort themselves out.

Hon Mliswa in his tiff with Rautenbach demanded US$100 million as his 10 percent shareholding in a Unki Mine concession, which, he says, Mr Rautenbach improperly sold for US$1 billion to British investors.

Hon Mliswa in stating his case said there was strong reason to believe that only a portion of that US$1 billion came into Zimbabwe, and was used to start up operations at Chisumbanje.

The legislator claimed that the additional US$65 million was for a stake in Green Fuel, the company producing ethanol in Chisumbanje.
For some time, Mr Mliswa was paid US$10 for every tonne of coal mined at Hwange and US$5 per tonne of coke.

The coal and coke payments were later stopped and Mr Rautenbach's contract with Hwange was cancelled because, according to Hon Mliswa, Rautenbach exported the coke instead of supplying it to Hwange Thermal Power Station.

Hon Mliswa also alleges that Green Fuel once failed to supply ethanol to the market because Mr Rautenbach had exported four million litres of the product to settle unrelated obligations outside Zimbabwe.

The matter went on in public and we didn't quite get the ending of the tiff. Not sure who won the battle royale between Temba and Rautenbach.

Again I ask is Temba Mliswa a hero or otherwise?

The Rautenbach saga alone is not enough to answer the question as it never had a clear ending and the nature of business deals of this magnitude does tend to go sour.

However my thoughts are on charging a businessman to facilitate meetings with Ministers and public officials , that being done by a public official , is that right ?

Smells wrong and sounds wrong even if it were consultancy fees.

Moving on with the dossier

Hon Temba Mliswa during the Gamatox - Weevil days which saw him being axed from ZANU PF for being a faction king pin , had a few cases that raised eyebrows.

In 2010, his lawyers sensationally revealed that he was facing up to 78 charges in Zimbabwe's court system.

This was after he was arrested in the same year on allegations of extorting $1 600 from relatives of his two employees and the theft of 56 cattle in Karoi.

"He extorted the money from a white couple he had employed at his farm in Karoi," said the then chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena.

In the same year 2010, Mliswa along with Martin Mutasa and George Marere spent weeks in prison after being arrested on charges of fraud involving $1,05 million.

The three were alleged to have defrauded a Harare man, Paul Westwood of his 50 percent shares in Noshio Motors, a registered car dealer company jointly owned by Westwood and Hammarskjöld Banda and his wife Brendaly.

Mliswa was detained at Matapi police station in Mbare.

After release on bail, Mliswa was re-arrested and charged for crimes dating back to 2002, which included cases of assault and common assault, theft, public violence, contempt of court, extortion, malicious damage to property, Shop Licences Act violation, Firearms Act violation and housebreaking.

Mliswa and his co-accused were acquitted of the Noshio case in June 2011.

Some of the other cases were also dropped in various other circumstances including state witnesses denying ever reporting Mliswa to the police.

In 2013, Cde Mliswa was arrested following skirmishes where Hurungwe East legislator Cde Sarah Mahoka was injured in an attack by youths while trying to address a meeting at Zimonja Business Centre in Zvipani.

Mliswa was ousted as the Zanu-PF provincial chairperson for Mashonaland West after it became clear that he supported ousted Vice President Joice Mujuru's bid to illegally oust former President Mugabe.

One wonders if these were real cases or politically motivated. However one also has to bear in mind that Didymus Mutasa was once a very powerful man in Zimbabwe who could make anything go away , and Temba Mliswa was associated with a man with such power.

Temba Mliswa Vs Obert Mpofu

This was a very interesting tiff that still lingers in the minds of many Zimbabweans. Was that tiff personal or was it a genuine anti corruption crusade by Temba Mliswa?

Temba Mliswa is already a man who has been painted as having had a close relationship with Obert Mpofu at some point or a relationship of sorts. Some have revealed that Temba Mliswa's mother got a farm in Umguza due to Obert Mpofu's help and influence in the region , yet the same Temba Mliswa went on a rampage against Obert Mpofu and recently suggested that Prisca Mpfumira and Obert Mpofu must be arrested.

Is Temba Mliswa playing the right cards to someday run for the Presidency of the Republic of Zimbabwe ? Is Temba Mliswa genuinely an anti corruption crusader or is it a case of settling scores?  Is Temba Mliswa a hero or Villain?

I will leave the question to you dear reader and look forward to your comments and responses.

Nicholas Ncube is a researcher and blogger based in Ontario Canada and is originally from Tsholotsho




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