WASHINGTON DC —
Youth and Indigenization Minister Patrick Zhuwao is finding himself on the defensive, following allegations from an employer he fired, that he is incompetent, a bully and self-serving.
Zanu-PF youth activist Acie Lumumba is raising serious allegations of incompetence and blackmail against Youth Minister Patrick Zhuwao, who he says fired him for allegedly misappropriating funds and conflict of interest, all of which he denies.
Lumumba, who held the position of chair of the steering committee of youth empowerment strategy for only five days, says he’s going public because the state of the country is in jeopardy.
“Minister Zhuwao has absolutely no control of his ministry. The amount of documents that are leaving his office and the permanent secretary has absolutely no information or knowledge of is amazing, because the ministry is now being run by a friend of his who works for a consulting company.”
Lumumba, further accuses Zhuwao of firing him because he failed to deliver on what he called conditional blackmail.
“He told me he was going to fire me on a certain condition and that the condition that was going to save me is that I have to go to Old Mutual, the biggest company in the country and I have to coarse them somehow to bring 2.5% of Old Mutual shares by the Friday, which in essence is how you define blackmail.”
Lumumba, who says he respects Zhuwao as his senior and someone from the same Mashonaland West Province he’s from, says his allegations against Zhuwao are not a case of sour grapes, but that he simply wants the minister to be accountable for his actions.
“The reason I am making them so strong is because I am ready for him to call me out so that I can back them up if I was not sure about what I was saying I would not be levelling them.”
Reached for comment on Lumumba’s allegations, Zhuwao flatly denied any wrong doing.
“I am denying all those allegations, and the second thing is because these are such serious allegations, I think it is proper that they are taken up to the proper authorities, so that they are investigated properly.”
Asked about the position held by Lumumba for five days, Zhuwao said that has now been filled, and work is going ahead.
“I appointed a new chairperson and his name is Tafadza Sengwe, he’s a lawyer. And today, they presented the zero draft of them, of the, of the blueprint, of the strategy document.”
As of the allegations raised by Lumumba and the attention on his ministry, Zhuwao responded with some laughter.
“(Laughing) … I think it’s a…first and foremost, the work that is being done by the steering committee is a good, good piece of work. The’ve come up with what I think are very, very good ideas, and what I will now do, as minister, because the ministry has representation in all wards, in all provinces, I will be submitting the zero draft for young people to be able to contribute their thoughts.”
Minister Zhuwao says the controversy will not stop him from fulfilling his mandate to serve the youth. Lumumba, however, is not backing down on accusations against him that he misappropriated funds, daring Minister Zhuwao to back up his claim.