Politics Today: Mugabe fails to attend hearing to explain disappearance of $15bn of diamonds but is excused

Politics Today: Mugabe fails to attend hearing to explain disappearance of $15bn of diamonds but is excused
Politics Today

Previous Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe neglected to turn up for a parliamentary hearing where he was because of give confirm on defilement in the jewel mining industry.

The 94-year-old, who is in delicate wellbeing, had been summoned to a session at 9am (7am GMT), today, yet when he didn't show up, officials needed to reschedule the session for Monday.

Board of trustees head Temba Mliswa, a free legislator, told correspondents that the parliamentary advisory group was 'discerning of the way that 9am was a bit too soon' for the previous president to appear.

He said the Monday session had been set for 2pm, although no-one in Mugabe's office would say whether or not he would attend.

Lawmakers want to question him over his 2016 claim that Zimbabwe lost $15 billion in revenue due to corruption and foreign exploitation in the diamond sector.

'We are not here to humiliate him, we expect him to have enough time to prepare. So on Monday at 2pm we expect him here,' Mliswa said, although he admitted that Mugabe was not legally obliged to attend.

Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe from 1980 until he was ousted from office in November following a brief military takeover. He denounced his ouster as a coup and has not been seen in public since.

His authoritarian regime has been accused of siphoning off diamond profits.

He was replaced by his former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, a veteran loyalist in the ruling ZANU-PF party who was backed by senior military officers.

Zimbabwe discovered alluvial diamonds in Chiadzwa, in the east of the country, more than 10 years ago.

Rights groups have accused security forces of using brutal methods to control the scattered deposits.

The parliamentary committee has already interviewed former ministers, police and intelligence chiefs about the mining industry in Chiadzwa.

Zimbabwe has allowed several diamond companies to mine the area – most of them as joint ventures between the government and Chinese firms. But there have been widespread allegations of mass looting.

In July, Zimbabwe is to hold elections, the first since Mugabe was unseated, with ZANU-PF widely predicted to retain power.

Mnangagwa has vowed to hold a fair and free vote, and has pledged to revive the moribund economy by repairing international ties and attracting foreign investment.

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