The controversial President of Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) Henrietta Rushwaya, who is believed to be closely connected to the First Family has reportedly grabbed Sandawana Mine following the discovery of rich lithium deposits.
Rushwaya who has been limping from one scandal to another made a rare appearance at Sandawana Mine last week where sources disclosed to Zimbabwe Observer that she bought lithium and gold worth $7000 before driving back to Harare in a motorcade of swanky German made four-wheel drive sedans.
Villagers have since been kicked out of their pits by members of the police’s black boots.
“Migodhi yese yapiwa Henrietta wena,” revealed one Mberengwa informal miner who had been chased away from his claim.
The raging informal miner told Zimbabwe Observer that villagers woke up to find their claims sealed off by the black boots who threatened to beat up anyone found mining lithium in the area.
Sandawana Mine is popular for the k-grade emeralds and has been defunct for the past decades, only to resume mining activities this year after the discovery of lithium.
However, Mberengwa resident are ranting, and revving with anger over their exclusion from mining activities in their backyards.
“Mberengwa is blessed with vast mineral resources such as emeralds, platinum, chrome iron ore, gold, tantalite,, asbestos, antimony, corundum, lead, magnetic, talc, tantalum, tungsten, beryl cordierite, lithium, etc. It is noteworthy that despite such vast mineral and even rich human resources, Mberengwa remains as one of the most poverty-stricken district in Zimbabwe,” complained a Mberengwa historian, Dr. Takavafira Zhou, who reigns from the nearby villages of Masarira clan, around the popular Chegato High School.
While the existence of lithium has been known for so many years, it is not until recently that there was a lithium rush in Mberengwa leading to the flooding of Sandawana area by more than 7000 artisanal miners and Chinese from far and wide.
Certain lithium compounds, also known as lithium salts, are used as psychiatric medication, primarily for bipolar disorder and for major depressive disorder. In these disorders, it sometimes reduces the risk of suicide. Lithium is taken orally. The most important use of lithium is in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles.
“What is ironic about the pattern of exploitation of minerals in Mberengwa is that only people from other provinces are benefiting and only leaving us uncovered pits,” fumed Jacob Msaigwa from Jeka Township, a stone-throw away from Sandawana Mine.
Who is Henrietta Rushwaya?
*Henrietta Rushwaya was born in 1968 in Masvingo
*She trained as a teacher at Morgenster Teachers College
*She came to Harare and worked at the Sports and Recreation Commission
*She was selected to travel to Norway to study Sports Management on a scholarship in 2000
*She returned in 2004 and was asked to coordinate fundraising activities for the senior national soccer team, The Warriors.
*Henrietta then got a job as the Director of Sport in then Vice-President Joseph Msika’s office.
It was rumoured that she was Vice-president Msika’s girlfriend. She had carte blanche powers in the VPs office.
*In March 2007, she was appointed ZIFA Chief Executive Officer
*Between 2007 and 2008 she faced theft charges for stealing money from ZIFA and was tried at the courts in 2008.
*On the eve of a crucial Warriors match, the then Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu and Benjani Mwaruwari fought at a local hotel. It is alleged that the fight was over Henrietta Rushwaya whom both were involved sexually.
- During her time as ZIFA CEO she was reported to have been sexually involved with several Warriors players. One player was overheard remarking that Henrietta was a beast in bed, the player said she was one of the best.
- During her time as ZIFA CEO she wantonly broke football administration rules. Case in point was when the then Dynamos goalkeeper Willard Manyatera didn’t have a PSL license which MUST be produced and inspected by referees at every match.
Henrietta had to use her influence to have Manyatera play despite football rules dictating that no license no play. She famously said ” Who doesn’t know that Willard Manyatera is a Dynamos player”. Highlanders played the match under protest.
*In 2008 Rushwaya tried and failed to secure the ticket to represent Zanu PF in Gutu South in the 29 March 2008 Parliamentary elections
*In February 2008, Henrietta was arrested and charged with attempting to defeat the course of justice after an investigation at the Attorney-General’s Office into questionable circumstances that led to her trial on theft charges being brought forward by two months.
- She was cleared by the courts despite overwhelming evidence.
*In January 2011 news broke around the country that Henrietta was having an affair with MDC politician Welshman Ncube.
*Henrietta was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission in February 2012 on allegations of bribery and match-fixing linked to the Asiagate matchfixing scandal. She appeared in court facing 11 counts of concealing transactions from a principal, two counts of fraud and 15 others of bribery involving US$1 million.
*In August 2014, Henrietta was arrested on charges of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Walter Magaya, the leader of Prophetic Healing And Deliverance Ministries.
Again it was rumoured that she was in a sexual relationship with Prophet Walter Magaya.
*In November 2015, salacious pictures of her and popular musician Jah Prayzah went viral as it was rumoured the two were having an affair. The pictures were taken in Henrietta’s bedroom. The pair however denied the allegations.
*Rushwaya was reported to have had an exploitative sexual relationship with then Manchester City and Warriors striker Benjani Mwaruwari. She however admitted he had bought her a car for a gift.
*In April 2016, Henrietta was again arrested of manipulating more matches and being the central figure of a syndicate which involved referees, players and journalists.
*Henrietta was accused of having organised a trip by the Zimbabwe national team to Malaysia on 28 December 2009 during which matches are said to have been manipulated.
*In another match-fixing scandal commonly referred to as the Limpopogate, in March 2016, ZIFA announced that Rushwaya was allegedly the central figure in the match-fixing syndicate which had been fixing games from 6 years back.
*Henrietta was fired from ZIFA on 26 October 2016 after a disciplinary tribunal appointed by ZIFA ruled that she be dismissed for mismanagement and insubordination. She had been found guilty on the majority of the charges levelled against her.
- In 2016 she received a life ban from football. Again it was reported that she had a sexual relationship with the then ZIFA boss Wellington Nyatanga, and she used her relationship with him to be insubordinate.
*In 2018, she was elected President of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF)
*On 26 October 2020, Henrietta was arrested as she tried to smuggle 6kgs of gold (worth US$366,000) out of Zimbabwe at Robert Mugabe International Airport. She was charged with smuggling under the Customs and Excise Act.
*Henrietta’s co-accused is Steven Tserayi, they were arrested together attempting to smuggle 6kg gold at RG Mugabe Airport. He is a senior Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative.
*Henrietta’s sister Heliete Rushwaya is the Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
*Henrietta’s is cousins with Martin Rushwaya, the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Of Defence…..he is now Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration and Finance in the Office of the President and Cabinet. Henrietta’s father and Martin’s father are brothers.
Martin’s mother the late Gogo Mary Rushwaya is sister to Emmerson’s mother.
- Henrietta Rushwaya is also related to ZANU PF First Secretary and President of Zimbabwe ED Mnangagwa. She is a muzukuru.
*On 29 October 2020, Henrietta was suspended from her post of President of ZMF for her role in the smuggling syndicate.
- 14 June 2021 Henrietta Rushwaya was re-elected Zimbabwe Miners Rushwaya President despite having a gold smuggling case pending in the courts.
- Henrietta Rushwaya is already campaigning for 2023 general elections as she wants to be Member of Parliament for Gutu.
- It’s now 3 years since she was arrested in 2020. Her case keeps being postponed to a later date. Unlike opposition activists her passport was returned and bail conditions relaxed.