HARARE— The long-awaited re-opening of the US$ 600 million Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant in Manicaland is now being blamed on factionalism within Rresident Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.
The plant employs more than 5,000 people. After more than a year’s delay in opening the plant, cabinet directed an inter-ministerrial committee to finalize negotiations before the end of the month.
But cabinet ministers, who attended the meeting Monday, said factions aligned to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice Ppresident Joice Mujuru were major stummbling blocks.The two have for long been said of harbouring plans to succeed the ageing president Mugabe.
Mnangagwa is a close ally of plant owner business tycoon Billy Rautenbach and is pushing for the re-opening of the plant. He’s pushing a law to compel the blending of ethanol and petrol.
But those alligned to joyce mujuru say they want government to take a 51% stake in the company.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change formation ministers are also saying they are against government being forced into backing the creation of a fuel monopoly for private gain. The firm is said to have lost close to US38 million during this closure.
Chisumbanje manager Raphael Zuze told VOA he could not comment on the latest situation because he has just come back from leave.
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said it was premature to comment. But one of the residents’ representatives and Director of Platform for Youth Development Claris Madhuku says people are tired of the political games.