HARARE – Zimbabwe’s parliament on Monday backed down from its demand for former president Robert Mugabe to answer questions related to diamond mining operations during his time in office.
In what would have been his first public appearance since being ousted in a de facto military coup in November, parliament had wanted to question Mugabe about his pronouncements that the state had been deprived of at least $15 billion in revenue by mining companies operating in the eastern Marange gem fields.
Mugabe had twice failed to appear before the mines committee of parliament and was given a final chance to do so on Monday, but the committee said in a statement it had now recused the 94-year-old former leader after consultations with the Speaker.
The committee did not give any more details.
Mugabe said in March 2016 the country was robbed of wealth by diamond companies including joint ventures between Chinese companies and the army, police and intelligence services. He later expelled those firms last year and replaced them with a state-owned diamond company.