Stand firm on audit of national assets, Tsvangirai

HARARE - Since the formation of this so-called Government of National Unity, I have watched in horror as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC made concession after concession to Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF without much in return.

Time and time again, Zanu PF would neutralise any momentum that the MDC might have gained and refuse to budge or agree to anything until the MDC let the issue die.

This is how the issues involving Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, the appointment and swearing in of MDC governors, the issue of Attorney General Johannes Tomana and the Roy Bennett case died natural deaths in the hands of the MDC.

The result is that the MDC ended up making too many concessions with nothing to show for it. Early this past week, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called for an audit of the indigenisation deals, following accusations that many of those deals were born-out of corrupt arrangements.

Earlier in the week, Tsvangirai had stated that he was “concerned by alleged misdemeanours and corruption in the handling of empowerment transactions for several companies”.

He said he was concerned that government organs that were supposed to be handling such transactions were themselves “kept in the dark about the full nature of some of these transactions”.

“Only a proper investigation will expose the truth about what happened and whether or not the State and the people of Zimbabwe were prejudiced in any way and whether all procedures and statutes were followed,” a local daily quoted Tsvangirai as saying.

“It is, therefore, imperative and in the interest of transparency that Parliament, through its relevant committees, should probe this matter.”

This was a very fair call because national assets are involved and most of those deals were made by a party at the exclusion of government, which is composed of two other political parties.

Fuelling the call for an audit is also the fact that beneficiaries of these offending deals were mostly Zanu PF officials at the exclusion of any other people.

We have always been made to believe the indigenisation programme was meant to benefit the majority but, as Tsvangirai said, “the programme purportedly meant for the majority was in reality benefiting the politically-connected”.

The same thing that happened during the still on going farm invasions, where only Zanu PF
officials and supporters were given farms is being played out over firms, companies, banks and mines.

Just like in the case of the audit of indigenisation deals, Zanu PF never wanted to hear anything about a land audit to determine who and how many people actually benefitted from its land redistribution programme.

“For our part, we call on all our Members of Parliament to treat Mr Tsvangirai’s miserable move with the disdain it deserves,” said Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo. “We are appalled by the Prime Minister’s call for a parliamentary probe into the on going indigenisation exercise. Zanu PF’s position is that we will resist this latest attempt with the greatest vigour possible.” Why?

If you suddenly turn a corner and happen upon someone who immediately starts running away like he was on fire, you might as well give chase because sure as mud is mud, that person is as guilty as sin.

Gumbo’s unnecessarily vigorous response is a very clear indication that these Zanu PF members do not want anyone sniffing around their loot, seeing as we do that most Zanu PF people embroiled in divorce cases now almost always give away a farm as part of the divorce settlement.

Calling for an audit is a normal democratic practice meant to assure the people that their company, business enterprise or nation is being run properly, above board and transparently.

Audits inspire confidence and promote national well-being.

It is my hope that Mr Tsvangirai stands his ground and his party will work extra hard to make sure we not only have an audit of indigenisation deals and land, but we have audits in every other enterprise in which national assets have been entrusted to our government officials.

Tsvangirai must not disappoint us by backing down; this is the stuff heroes are made of. This issue must always be trumpeted from mountain tops to even from under the beds: before, during and after the elections.

Tsvangirai is calling for an audit, not of anyone’s personal assets but of national assets so why would people like Rugare Gumbo use their “greatest vigour possible” to resist simple audit of national assets?

We know why.

My advice to Gumbo and his team is for them to save that vigour for Chikurubi — they might need the maximum of it there. - Tanonoka Joseph Whande

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