Zimbabwean politician dies in mysterious car accident

By Janet Shoko
Posted on Thursday, 20 June 2013 09:56

Edward Chindori-Chininga, a former mines minister, chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy when it released a report claiming millions of dollars in taxes paid by companies mining diamonds had vanished.

Police say Chindori-Chininga died on the spot after his car rammed into a tree.

However, other passengers in the vehicle escaped with minor injuries.

Last year, Chindori-Chininga survived another crash after his Mercedes Benz collided with a truck killing one person and injuring several others.

Politicians dying in suspicious car accidents during election period are common in Zimbabwe.

Barely a week before his death, the Zanu PF official chaired a heated parliamentary committee meeting that fearlessly exposed massive looting of Chiadzwa diamond revenue.

In his report, Chindori-Chininga said serious discrepancies were discovered between what the diamond firms claimed to have paid in local taxes and what the treasury had received.

One firm, Mbada Mining, which works with the government, said it had paid $293 million in taxes over four years, but the government said it had received just $82 million in total from Mbada for operations in 2011 and 2012.

Three other companies operating in the Marange fields, which are estimated to hold around a quarter of the world’s gem stocks, refused to disclose the payments they made to the state coffers.

The committee said that attempts to visit the diamond fields were repeatedly thwarted by government mining officials and security agents.

“The diamond industry is operating without a clear legal framework and administration to provide assurance that the people’s resources are being protected,” the committee said.

The committee said that large parts of Marange are still run by the military, who were accused of killing 200 illegal miners in 2008.

It was refused permission to hold a public meeting with some of the estimated 4,000 people displaced the mining activities because of “security concerns”, it said.

Chindori-Chininga had repeatedly said the army needed re-orientation to ensure rights abuses stopped in Marange.

Mysterious deaths

Last year, the maverick Chindori Chininga lamented in public that he was being persecuted by Zanu PF after he revealed that his party was stalling the constitution making process.

He was fired from the parliamentary committee that was spearheading the constitution making exercise shortly before he was involved in a mysterious car crash.

There have been a number of unexplained car crashes in Zimbabwe in recent years.

One of the most profile being that of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, who died shortly after the premier had joined a coalition with President Mugabe.

On the eve of Zimbabwe’s independence in 1979, Josiah Tongogara, who was earmarked to be the army commander, died in another mysterious crash.

His successor, Solomon Mujuru died in an unexplained inferno at his farm on the outskirts of Harare.

An inquest into his death said the fire had been an accident, although sceptic Zimbabweans blame accuse authorities of having a hand.

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