Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) management committee meeting has recommended the suspension of its president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya and secretary for external affairs, Mr Gift Karamba, with immediate effect.

The two ZMF executive members have been arrested in connection with the attempted smuggling of 6kgs of gold to Dubai. The matter is before the courts.

The ZMF management committee held an impromptu meeting in Gweru yesterday to deliberate on the accusations levelled against the two top members of the national executive. It also recommended  for an audit of the ZMF books by external auditors.

The management committee is a board between the general council and national executive.

Mr Marufu Sithole of Chimona Mining Company has been seconded to take over the helm of the federation for small scale miners until Ms Rushwaya is cleared by the courts or until her term expires next year June 14 l, which ever comes first.

Mr Makumba Nyenje, ZMF national chairperson made the announcement at a press briefing.

“As management committeee we have received reports from secretary general and the treasurer general who are both members of national executive. After some strong deliberations upon the issues slsurrounding our ZMF president, madam Henrietta Rushwaya and secretary for external affairs Mr Gift Karanda, we have realised that they are appearing before the court facing allegations of attempting to smuggle gold to other countries. We are told  it’s Dubai,” he said.

“This committee has focused on action to take and attention is drawn to Section 4 (10)(1) of ZMF constitution, which talks about the suspension or expulsion of a members who has breached sections of the constitution and we have also read that in conjunction with Section 6 (12) (4), which talks about termination of office for national executive members.

“The section reads as if a  member is  convicted of any offence. Such a member ceases to be a member of the national council and since the cases are still at the court and whilst we are waiting for the  verdict of the court, this committeee is recommending to the general council that we suspend madam Henrietta Rushwaya from the office of president of ZMF and Mr Gift Karanda from the office of secretary of external affairs until finalisation of the matter or the expiry of their term of office, which is coming on  June 21 next year.”

Mr Nyenje said Mr Sithole, the first vice president of ZMF will be the interim president of the federation.

“Mr Marufu Sithole takes over the office as acting president for such period until matter is finalised or until the expiry of their term of office. We don’t have the urgency to fill in that position, it remains vacant for now. 

“All deliberations are going to be taken to the general council. The national executive is just there for day to day running of ZMF business,” he said.

Mr Nyenje said as a body, they were shocked and saddened by the manner in which the two members acted.

He distanced ZMF from the actions of Ms Rushwaya and Mr Karanda.

“We pray that the matter is finalised. But at the end of the day, damage has been done.  These were personal issues, they were not acting on behalf of the ZMF.

We remain steadfast in representing the small scale miners and what ever happened is not a ZMF issue. It is with the two members,” he said.

Mr Nyenje said the special sub committee headed by Mr Sithole was going to audit ZMF accounts.

“A special sub committee has been tasked to go and look into our books. Our constitution allows that we do all this in the event of a member leaving office  or being suspended,” he said.

Mr Sithole said as acting president, he is going to stick to rules and regulations prescribed by ZMF constitution.

“We are just going to stick to the ZMF mandate, follow the constitution,” he said.