Exercise caution when dealing with corruption

HARARE - PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s volte face in exonerating former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa for allegedly soliciting a $6 million bribe from Ghanaian investors in the Gye Nyame Resources (GNR) diamond concession was telling.

It was telling in that the nonagenarian leader admitted to having been misled.

Mugabe had in September “outed” the Mabvuku-Tafara parliamentary aspirant for taking money from William Ato Essien’s Bill Minerals (Bill).

The about-turn inadvertently, forced the 90-year-old president to adopt “a cautious approach” in tackling the latest corruption scandals engulfing his administration.

Kudos to Mugabe for his admission but that same admission has left so many questions unanswered.

Apart from the unanswered questions, the admission has brought to the fore the kind of advice and the “flawed” intelligence that at times accompanies crucial information such as the one relating to Masimirembwa.

This, exoneration of Masimirembwa, coming at a time when Mugabe’s government has launched a crackdown against corruption, does call for caution in both investigating and reporting on that corruption.

It is really embarrassing both to the president and his administration that a case, at least judging by Mugabe’s reaction to it, which appeared water tight, was nothing but hot air!

There is every reason to treat every case with caution because the Masimirembwa gaffe has cruelly exposed flawed information which Mugabe thought was genuine.

Security agents have to show their smartness in dealing with cases of corruption lest the public loses confidence in them.

The media has had to deal with a glut of scandalous and graft stories which have aroused national interest.

These cases of corruption must be accompanied by solid evidence which prove prima facie cases against the accused.

Everyone must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Political posturing does not help in the fight against corruption and this must be divorced from any serious process for it to gain currency amongst the populace.

It is commendable that Mugabe and his administration are pushing for prosecution for those found guilty of corruption.

But their actions must be backed by political will and solidity of facts to achieve the desired results.

Anything less, will dampen the spirits of a nation that has suffered from poverty while a corrupt few have been flaunting ill-gotten wealth.

Everything begins and ends with political will.

Without it, the media can report ad infinitum on it but without success.

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