Mugabe must act on corruption

HARARE - One of the puzzles of our post-independence is the contradiction between the material wealth of our ministers and public officials on the one hand, and the salaries they earn on the other.

Some of these people — genuine war veterans, that is — left the battlefield, demobilisation camps or exile with nothing.

A number of the senior figures in the liberation struggle were then appointed ministers and public officials in the new government. Most have been recycled ever since.

In those days, Zanu’s ethos were captured in song:  “Zanu vanhu, vanhu iZanu” (Zanu is the people, people are Zanu).

A leadership code, adopted by Zanu PF’s congress in 1984 to keep capitalistic temptations in check, transformed mere song into a seemingly abiding philosophy of social equality. 

But alas, then came the Willowgate scandal. Enos Nkala, Callistus Ndlovu, Frederick Shava, Dzingai Mutumbuka and Maurice Nyagumbo resigned in shame, the latter committing suicide, after using their positions to buy cars at knockdown prices for resale.

Since then, we have learnt Zanu is Zanu and the people are the people — the disjuncture has now manifested without any socialist pretensions of egalitarianism.

When one becomes a government minister, official, councillor, mayor or MP the transformation from rags to riches eventuates with disturbing inevitability.

Some will claim to have been genuinely enterprising. And they may have been.

But then it is hard to believe these politicians are exclusively endowed with some gene for enterprise that ordinary people do not possess. Or that when one becomes a public official his or her “gene for enterprise” suddenly manifests.

The answer lies simply in position or abuse of it.

The recent revelations by the Daily News about shady deals suspected to involve ministers would explain the abuse of position and the post-independence paradox of modest salaries on one hand and the wealth of our public officials on the other.

Ministers and public officials are using positions for personal gain.

Willowgate and the scandals that followed had already shown that the Zanu PF leadership had formulated a new and contrarian code of self-enrichment.

It is only the magnitude of the riches acquired that has been unknown.

On occasions, it has taken revelations by scorned spouses of ministers in divorce cases for Zimbabweans to learn of the extent of the wealth of some of the officials.

MPs are reluctant to reveal their assets.

Not so long ago, the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda said the MPs would be compelled to declare assets. Only 25 out of 210 MPs have so far voluntarily complied.

Why would the MPs have to be compelled to reveal their possessions?

The abuse of office for personal gain knows no bounds.

It was reported last week, a chief had demanded $21 000 from a family of a tourist who disappeared in the Inyangani Mountains. It is most callous to try to profit from a family tragedy.
We seem to be a corrupt society — from top to bottom.

There is nothing peculiar, however, about us as a society.

Those that have branded us inherently corrupt are not paragons of virtue either.

Corruption or abuse of public office occurs in almost every society. What distinguishes us is whether we deal with it or not.

We do not seem to act resolutely against it. In Britain, for example, MPs were involved in what is dubbed the “expenses scandal.”  Denis MacShane, a former MP and Europe minister, was jailed for six months for the expenses fraud after admitting submitting 19 fake receipts amounting to £12 900.

He was the fifth MP to get a prison sentence after the expenses scam.

Compare this to how cases of the abuse of the Community Development Fund have been handled; at best lackadaisically, at worst, reluctantly.

The discovery of diamonds has provided a perfect opportunity for some to abuse position for personal gain, as the Daily News investigation showed.

It is also most puzzling that some people with known backgrounds of financial misdemeanour would be appointed to head an institution responsible for the diamond mining.

This is as good as putting Dracula in charge of the blood-bank.

President Robert Mugabe has spoken out against corruption.

But words are not enough. People want to see action.

Comments (6)

Mugabe will not act on corruption forget it. He is the head of the Mafia and all these sick goofs who surround him have been taught to steal and plunder with impunity because the godfather Mugabe himself is corrupt to the core. He can only talk about corruption once in a while when he wants but will do absolutely nothing about it. The fish rots from the head going down and this is Mugabe for you and his band of thieves. Zimbabwe is animal farm. Some animals are more equal than others. Thats why I have maintained here that in Zimbabwe we do not have liberators but mercenaries who have plundered the resources of this country to their benefit while the majority of Zimbabweans wallow in poverty. The Ticket to plunder and steal with impunity is having fought in the Chimurenga war. Mugabe men and women in ZANU-PF SHIT LUCIFER are heartless and do not give a hoot about all the suffering so long as their families and kith and keen are comfortable. We need to drive these mercenaries out of power because that is the only way of getting rid of the corruption cancer not expecting Mugabe to act on it . He will not. Not today tomorrow or ever.

vongai - 14 January 2014

It was the United States ambassador Chritopher Dell who first revealed just how corupt the rule of this government is. In his speach to the Afric University near Mutare that he made this speach and it angered Mugabe. You see nothing will happen to curb coruption. This is a government of patronage. That is how Mugabe retains his power. All American Ambassadors have been told not "to meddle" in Zimbabwes affairs. It all done with impunity.

vortex - 14 January 2014

You want Mugabe to fight corruption iye ariiyo corruption yacho. He founded it, watered it and today he reaps its endless benefits.

Harahwa yepaState house - 14 January 2014

Vortex, point of correction or addition, It was Thomas Mapfumo who through his song Corruption, first alerted the nation to this demon! Thomas Mapfumo also foretold us how the country had gone to the dogs in his song Mamvemve (Tatters) this was way back but we just took it as music and yet it was a prophecy that we see our roads in tatters, delivery system in shambles, Corruption all over (Zisco Saga, Hwange Power Station, The Airport Road!!!) Ah ah.

Kambiri - 15 January 2014

Corruption is the cornerstone ZPF's policies

Mukanya - 15 January 2014

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