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Mugabe to answer questions over $15 billion diamond revenue.

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Zimbabwe’s parliament has ordered former leader Robert Mugabe to answer questions next month about whether the state was deprived of $15 billion in diamond revenue, a legislator said on Friday.

Themba Mliswa who heads parliament’s mining committee said the panel had interviewed former Marange mining executives as well as the police, army and intelligence services and now wanted to talk to Mugabe.

Mugabe said in March 2016 that the country was robbed of wealth by diamond companies including joint ventures between Chinese companies and the army, police and intelligence services whose operations were shielded from public scrutiny.

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Specifically, he said Zimbabwe lost $15 billion in revenue from Marange gem fields, more than 400 km (250 miles) east of the capital. He expelled those firms last year and replaced them with a state-owned diamond company.

“The committee resolved that the former president should appear on 9 May so that he can explain the disappearance of the $15 billion,” Mliswa said.

“This is not political persecution. After gathering all evidence, it was the committee’s view that we call the former Head of State and government.”

The state diamond company was set to auction 1.56 million carats of diamonds from Marange in March and April, the first time since March 2017 it has held such sales.

In 2006, over 20,000 illegal diggers descended on the Marange fields, prompting the government to deploy the army to stop panning and smuggling. Rights groups say security forces committed atrocities during their crackdown.

Diamond watchdog Partnership Africa Canada said in 2012 at least $2 billion of Marange diamonds were stolen by people linked to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party but the government denied the charge.

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Motherland News

Families Identify Church Collapse Victims in Anguish

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Tears and anguish characterized the atmosphere as the grieving families of 13 worshipers killed in a church collapse arrived at the Richards Bay mortuary to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

The worshipers died when a wall collapsed at the Pentecostal Holiness Church near Empangeni in northern KwaZulu-Natal last Thursday night.

The KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department co-ordinated with various departments including health, home affairs and the police, to assist in speeding up the body identification process.

Six worshippers were from Ulundi, four from eSikhawini and three from Maqwakazi in uMlalazi.

Describing the collapse, Phumelele Simelane from eSikhawini said worshippers had just had their evening meal and were preparing to sleep when the wall caved in.

Simelane was with her 6-year-old son, who is recovering in hospital. She said she came to the mortuary to support congregants whose relatives died.

The Mthembu family, who lost grandmother Thembi Mthabela, 54, and Andiswa Mthembu, 10, in the tragedy were overcome with grief.

“Thembi loved going to church and she always took Andiswa with her. Andiswa was doing Grade 3 at Nyathini Primary School. As a family, we are very traumatised and it is hard for us,” said a relative, who did not wanted to be named.

Buhle Mzila, whose sister Samke, 33, died, said the family had lost a breadwinner.

Samke, who worked at the Ulundi Municipality, was with her 9-year-old daughter during the incident.

Buhle said her niece, who was in hospital, was in a state of shock about her mother’s death.

“Samke loved the church, she always made sure she attended every service. She played a big role in terms of assisting the family. We are still going to feel her absence,” said Buhle.

A sobbing Mbongeni Langa said his mother had died in a “place she loved”.

The memorial service will be held tomorrow

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Motherland News

CAF Sidelines Nigerian Centre Referees for 2019 AFCON

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Out of the Twenty-seven centre referees penciled down for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, countries like Burundi, Mali, Zambia and Sudan are represented on the list, but no Nigerian referee was selected for the big occasions.

However, only one assistant referee from Nigeria named Baba Adel was listed among the twenty-nine assistant referees selected by the African Football Governing Body.

The competition will be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019, as per the decision of the CAF Executive Committee on 20 July 2017.

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