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Africa Last Updated: Nov 11, 2007 - 10:55:56 AM

Governor: Why We Believed N’anga
By Clemence Manyukwe, Financial Gazette 8/11/07
Nov 10, 2007 - 3:30:58 PM

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A senior government official has revealed why government officials ignored advice that a rock could not produce refined diesel. A strong belief in spirit mediums convinced top officials, including members of the Presidium to authorise expenditure of $5 billion in taxpayers’ money on a woman who claimed to have powers to cause diesel to flow from a rock. The advice was given by a number of people, including Cabinet ministers, who had expressed scepticism over Nomatter Tagarira’s claims, that she could induce diesel from a rock at Muningwa hills in Chinhoyi by pointing her "sacred stick" at it. The Financial Gazette established this week that police have recovered $3 billion of the $5 billion that government paid to Tagarira alias Mavhunga alias Sekuru Dombo. In an interview yesterday, Mashonaland West governor Nelson Samkange, who is believed to have been one of a group of senior officials involved in selling the diesel story to President Robert Mugabe, confirmed that advice for the government to proceed with caution were ignored. "There are reasons (why the advice was ignored). The government and the President believe in African culture, we believe in spirit mediums. She said the diesel was coming from our ancestors, so we had to pursue it," said Samkange. "The second reason is the current fuel problems. If we had not pursued it, she was going to blame the government."


The other reason was that in the initial stages, those who were sent to collect samples from Tagarira came back with "pure diesel", but it later turned out that the fuel was not coming from the rock. Instead, it emerged that diesel bought from truck drivers was poured into a tank rigged with pipes, from which Tagarira drew the fuel, thus duping government officials into believing that it flowed from a sacred rock. Samkange said if prosecutors asked him to be a state witness in Tagarira’s trial, he would be keen to testify against her as she had taken the government for a ride. In addition to the $5 billion the government also gave Tagarira a farm, a farmhouse and food among other rewards. Court documents seen by The Financial Gazette this week show that police had recovered $3 billion of the amount showered on the n’anga. On Tuesday, Tagarira appeared at Chinhoyi magistrates court and was remanded in custody. Resplendent in new prison garb – distinguishing her from other detainees – she seemed crippled with fear as she walked into court. She faces charges under the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act for fraud or alternatively, for being a "criminal nuisance." The state says in court papers that as a result of the misrepresentation by the accused, national interests were compromised, resulting in human and material resources being wasted.


Source:Ocnus.net 2007

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