Mugabe anti-graft drive insincere

HARARE - One Zimbabwe’s worst problems — which is also evidently weighing down several African countries’ developmental thrusts — is the cancer of corruption.

Zimbabwe has had several high-profile cases of corruption thrown into the public space but little, if anything has been done to the culprits. Corruption is a cancer that has affected the whole economy and it seems to be continuing unabated at the detriment of development.

On Thursday, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) — the country’s anti-graft body — suspended 19 investigators for alleged corruption, insubordination and divulging the organisation’s secrets.

For the ordinary Zimbabwean, this passes as an attempt to throw spanners into the work of the investigators. We are all aware that Zacc got the clearance of the courts to probe several State-owned enterprises for alleged corruption.

The suspension of the officials happened after they won an arbitral award of $1,5 million for outstanding allowances and benefits.

The homogeneity of the charges the 19 are facing raises a lot of questions.

We hope this is not another case where we are making four steps backwards after going three steps forward.

In 2012, President Robert Mugabe acknowledged that former South African(SA) President Thabo Mbeki had told him that senior Zimbabwean officials had demanded up to $5 million in bribes from potential SA investors, in the process scuttling the deals.

During the era of the inclusive government, Members of the House of Assembly accessed Constituency Development Funds (CDF) — ostensibly for developmental projects that would uplift the lives of the people in their respective constituencies.

The fund was abused by known individuals who have gone scot-free despite the clear fraud against the people who voted them into office.

The Youth Fund that was administered through certain financial institutions was also abused.

Although the fund was supposed to benefit youths, there are several other known undeserving individuals- some of whom claim to be very successful businessmen — who accessed the funds and have not bothered to pay back even a single cent.

Mugabe’s administration must come out clean on its anti-graft drive.

The anti-corruption net is not supposed to be cast on partisan lines. It is our hope that the goings-on at Zacc are not meant to scuttle the probes that were targeting several State-owned entities.

We pray that sanity will prevail in our country and Mugabe cracks the whip against corruption.

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