Mugabe threats a ruse — Analysts

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s threats that he was going to crackdown on corruption is cheap talk aimed at currying favour with the electorate ahead of elections next year, analysts said yesterday.

The bombast delivered at the 13th national people’s conference to deal with corrupt ministers and cops was a desperate appeal for much-needed votes, they said, adding Mugabe should have mentioned what exactly he was going to.

Pedzisayi Ruhanya, director for Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said Zanu PF depends on corruption for survival, thus getting rid of corruption is not practical as it will wipe the party from existence.

“Zanu PF as an institution is corrupt starting with Mugabe himself. When it comes to elections, he pretends to be transparent when he is not. If he was serious, he could have resolved his Cabinet long back,” he said. He also cautioned the public not to be too optimistic as they could be in for a rude awakening.

“What he said was simply cheap talk and anyone who takes him seriously is bound to be disappointed,” the analyst said. “If Mugabe really means it, he should execute that now, what he said was a matter of vote buying so that commuters and commuter omnibus operators get lured with his speech. In fact that was a corrupt speech,” he added.

Another analyst Alexander Rusero also blasted Mugabe’s utterances as a poor vote buying scheme.
“There are two approaches we can take on this issue, the first one is that we are looking at an 89-year-old leader who is desperate to get power ahead of the much talked about election,” said Rusero.  

“With the magnitude of corruption in the country, what the leader said was simply much ado about nothing, the country is bankrupt but some Zanu PF individuals are rich, some of them are even the richest in the region despite Zimbabwe being one of the poorest countries in the region,” the analyst observed.

He said the backbone of Mugabe’s power is corruption, and as such he has resorted to cheap talk for survival. “Corruption makes him survive politically. That speech was mere cheap talk to a Zanu PF audience and the generality of Zimbabwe, there are many corruption scandals that were never dealt with, for example the Noczim, GMB, and Air Zimbabwe,” he said.

He said it was possible, however, for Mugabe to fire the top police brass because they contributed almost 75 percent to soiling of Zanu PF’s status.

“The police no longer command authority as they used to do before. Senior police officers can be fired because they are just an extension of power and once they are fired they can be replaced looking at the levels of unemployment in Zimbabwe,” Rusero said.

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