Mugabe must act on corruption

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe would have the Chinese believe he is firm about corruption. Ministers who engage in corrupt activities face jail, he told Guangdong TV during his recent visit to China last week.

However, Mugabe’s pronouncements stand in stark contrast to his record and attitude towards corruption among his ministers.

Perhaps the irony of it all is that while he claimed disdain towards corruption in China, his emissary (ambassador) in that country, Frederick Shava, a former minister, was involved in one of the major scandals in Zimbabwe — Willowgate.

While Mugabe instituted an inquiry, the Sandura Commission, after Willowgate, the findings only led to the resignations of ministers, and a suicide, not dismissals.

Others involved, including Callistus Ndlovu, Enos Nkala and Dzingai Mutumbuka, all went scot-free. Maurice Nyagumbo took his own life and was declared a national hero.

This record does not evince the bullish claims that ministers engaged in graft in Zimbabwe face jail. It shows, instead, that corrupt ministers either escape censure and punishment or, worse still, are rewarded.

The Willowgate scandal sticks out as only one early example of Mugabe’s reticence towards elite corruption.

Since then, numerous scams involving the elite have gone unpunished.

The commonly cited include the ZRP Santana Scandal (1989), War Victims Compensation Scandal (1994), GMB Grain Scandal (1995), VIP Housing Scandal (1996), Boka Banking Scandal (1998), Zesa YTL Soltran Scandal (1998), Harare City Council Refuse Tender Scandal (1998), Housing Loan Scandal (1999) and Noczim Scandal (1999)

The others are: the DRC timber and diamond UN reported scandals (1999), GMB Scandal (1999), ministry of water and rural development Chinese tender scandal (1999), Harare Airport Scandal (2001), pillaging and milking of Ziscosteel (2005-8), pillaging of diamonds in Chiadzwa (2006-present) and the Airport Road Scandal (2008-2014).

In March last year, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officers, armed with High Court papers, wanted to search for documents in the offices of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (Nieeb), Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara).

Officers and ministers involved with these bodies were suspected of impropriety.

Despite legal authorisation, Zacc was barred from searching the offices.

Given the history of elite corruption and prevention of lawful pursuit against it, Mugabe’s purported disdain towards official malfeasance fails to stand up to scrutiny.

Not a single minister has even been questioned, let alone arrested despite the suspicious accumulation of wealth that is grossly incongruous with their official incomes.

Speaking at a birthday party hosted by the Public Service Commission in March this year, Mugabe said a minister had demanded a bribe of $70 000 while a female legislator asked for a $50 000 facilitation fee from a potential investor.

That was the last we heard of the matter.

Zanu PF has put Zimbabwe in the premier league of corrupt countries. According to an Afrobarometer report released in November last year, Zimbabwe was third in the corruption rankings after Nigeria and Egypt.

It seems participation in the liberation struggle or association with those involved in it is the ticket to impunity.

Agents of social control and deviance are populated by the like-minded.

Zacc is only a window-dressing ruse that camouflages an inherent lack of resolve to tackle the decadence.

The reason Mugabe would want to sound he was anti-corruption to his recent hosts is simple. Having signed so-called “mega” deals with the Chinese, he wanted them to believe that their money will be safe.

The Chinese have every reason to be worried.

After securing $144,4 million from China’s Eximbank for rehabilitation of waterworks, the Harare City Council diverted $8 million of the loan to buy 25 luxury vehicles without going to tender.

An investigation revealed the council did not create project bank accounts for the loan, making alleged corruption surrounding the funds difficult to trace.

Mugabe should act against corruption if he is going to enjoy the confidence of even his most loyal friends.


Comments (8)

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GALLERYCARTIDGES - 2 September 2014

Mugabe act against corruption !!!! Tooooo late for that. It will never happen . Remember he is the head of the department of corruption, and we stupid fools have allowed this to take place for 34 years. After all we dummy's voted him into office in the first place and how many more times since then. We blindly cheered him on while he ( WITH OUR BLESSING ) practiced reverse racism on the colonial whites, when all along he and his merry men were actually ripping us off.

ronaldos - 3 September 2014

The city council did not buy 25 cars... they bought over 50 cars from that money. Asked to comment on this obvious misuse of funds, a certain erstwhile polititian with uncannily white hair, stated that they only spent 0.08% on vehicles which was very very little and in fact they should have bought more cars. Nothing ever came of investigations and committees set up last I checked and as we speak the funds which were meant to improve the water situation in Harare I am sure continue to be looted as people in Mabvuku continue to go without water for more than 15 years and counting...

lovethynation - 3 September 2014

while the nation is so unproportionally preoccupied with political issues , disability activism has suffered as this has become unfashionable and less "rewarding" to the media and the NGOs. Could the media please pay a little more attention to the plight and success stories of people living with disabilities.

edwin mhere - 3 September 2014

Fish begins to rot from the head in this case head of state and commander in chief. So any hopes of ending corruption will not be achieved kana musoro wakaora

fish - 3 September 2014

Mugabe blesses corruption.He will always do nothing to stop it.Yes people believe Mugabe is himself corrupt.How could he allow his wife to keep 1 000 tones of maize at their farm when GMB silos are all empty?Where from did he get the cattle he used to feed the youth at their recent meeting?Where did he get the dairy cattle for his Gushungo Dairy? Why did he want to force NESTLE ZW to buy his milk shunning DMB? This is but just a tip of the ice bag.

KAKARA KUNUNA - 3 September 2014

We Zimbabweans ,i mean sober Zimbaweans independent of our political affliations know that Cde Mugabe failed dismally to fight corruption.An example of a good leader is seen by the people who decide to follow him.If he has a great following of corrupt people then it goes without saying he knows whats going on.Deliver us Zimbabweans from the disgrace.Let our glorious Zanu Pf see light again we have a lot of capable hands and patriots within our party to take us forward

carson Macate - 4 September 2014

Mangamuchiti munhu anochinja iye ari mukuru wazvo

protestor - 5 September 2014

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