A nation of thieves - Vince Musewe

A nation of thieves – Vince Musewe

via A nation of thieves | The Zimbabwean 12.02.14

I am hardly surprised at the rot that is being unearthed in state enterprises where individuals like our infamous Charamba et al got paid a minimum of $8,000 for attending a board meeting. Compare this to civil servants are fighting for a minimum monthly wage of $540 or $6, 480 per annum!

I have said these things before, that Zanu (PF) has no institutional management capacity. This is made worse by the patronage system that has been festering unabated over the last 34 years – particularly within the 75 state enterprises.

In any country where money is a god, you are bound to get unprecedented corruption as people seek to show off their wealth. Others do all they can to hide it. It is fertile ground for incompetence, profiteering and deterioration in business ethics.

Our fundamental problem is the lack of value-driven leadership from the top. The President of Zimbabwe has failed us. The importance of governance for companies, whether private or state-owned, has been underscored by high-profile corruption scandals, monumental waste of resources and high debt levels that have resulted in a regressing economy. Our government has played the largest role in under-developing Zimbabwe.

Despite the noble intent behind the creation of state enterprises they are often less productive than companies in the private sector. All too often they have been used as places of patronage for ruling parties. In Zimbabwe, state enterprises have functioned like ruling party subsidiaries which divert public resources to the benefit of Zanu (PF) political elite and their cronies.

This unproductive misuse of state enterprises has clogged up resources, savings and capacity from both the public and the private sector. Resources are channelled away from critical priority areas at the expense of citizens.

The need to continually find resources to prop up failing state enterprises for political reasons, has worsened our economic crisis. Because of the recent disclosure of mismanagement and abuse of public funds within state enterprises, much attention needs to be paid to the composition of the boards – the independence of board members, board structures, incentives and performance evaluations. This has been sorely lacking.

The interesting thing is that there seems to be no call to fire the directors who have presided over this disaster. Cosmetic changes are being made – but these are not fundamental structural changes.

The case of PSMAS is a clear example where directors have not been fired or resigned and continue to blame the CEO – claiming that they were not aware of what was happening. This is ridiculous.

Directors are paid to exercise due care and to be informed of what is going on. None of them are taking responsibility and in my opinion, they should not only be fired but must repay the fees they received because they did not provide the services for which they were paid. This is corporate fraud.

This of course mirrors our political behaviour, where ministers never take responsibility and continue to blame the West and “sanctions” for our problems. I also question the auditors of these enterprises.

I was recently told that auditors report to directors of the board, and therein lies the problem. Since their responsibility only stops there, directors have been complicit in sweeping the corruption under the carpet.

We are faced with systemic institutional failure because of political incompetence and lack of accountability on the broad economy. This continues to arrest our development as we are unable to efficiently use or account for scarce resources.

I think we are going to be shocked with bigger corruption news, especially in the mining sector where the government has not been accountable for many years. In my opinion nearly everyone in politics has been involved in some deal or other in order to keep up appearances and pretend that they have money. We have seen some houses being built in Harare where one wonders where the money is coming from in such a depressed economic environment.

Zanu (PF) must take full responsibility. They have presided over a rotten patronage system where corruption is acceptable. They cannot now claim to be champions of the poor. This is nothing but a scam to create the perception that indeed they care about the plight of Zimbabweans; they don’t! As long as they are making money, they will fight to stay in power.

I just hope that come 2018 Zimbabweans won’t forget and be duped again into voting in a political party that has destroyed the future of millions of people through sheer greed. The people must come first! –Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at vtmusewe@gmail.com

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 20
  • comment-avatar
    Reverend 4 years

    A nation of thieves !!! So someone has just woken up to the fact! TAB…This is Africa Baby! I ask the same question again…Is there anyone out there who can lead our country for the good of the people of Zimbabwe without being corrupted? MMMM I don’t think so!

  • comment-avatar
    andy 4 years

    I have said, once they can not pay the police nor pay or even feed the army the whole rotten zany will collapse

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    Nyoni 4 years

    Once again I will say Government should not run state organisations by themselves. They simply do not know how to. The amount of tax payers money wasted on same could have been better used to prop up struggling companies. It becomes a win win situation for all . Unfortunately Zanu sees otherwise. What a shame.

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    John Thomas 4 years

    Our situation is living proof that the modern thinkers who say that democracy and freedom cannot co-exist are right. What we have here is a tyranny of the majority. The majority that want something for nothing. Was the offer at election time to forgive utility bills not a simple a outright bribe. The offer to increase the salaries of the civil servants was another bribe. A major part of the electorate changed their vote for these trinkets. The next election will not be different. ZANU has proved over decades that these tactics work. There will be no economic rationality from this government. They have all the unlisted cash flows from the natural resources of the country at their disposal. We can continue as we are now ad infinitum.

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    Chessplayer 4 years

    Do we really need political leaders for our country? I think we need professionals in economic matters to lead us like the Italians did with the advent of their economic crisis. What we are faced with is an economic crisis which no doubt will get even bigger the longer we leave the current leadership in office. They have proved to be grossly incompetent, corrupt and driven by self interests from 18 April 1980 to this day. They draw a good comparison to a pack of Lions feasting on a carcass which is getting smaller and smaller by the minute…this is when they start turning on each other. Do we really need politicians to run our economic affairs?

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    Chessplayer 4 years

    Murimi Wanhasi any comments…long time.

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      Too busy looting before the ship sinks.Gotta get all the money out the country before real audit is done.!!!!

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    machakachaka 4 years

    Do we become a nation of thieves just because some in powerful positions are stealing. Museve does not respect those who do not steal. If you take Dube, Charamba and a few other guys in government, parastals and some private sector corrupt managers, do they become a nation? What is a nation? Musewe is on record with many other idiocies. When he tries to write about something that would otherwise be good and revealing, he puts in some silly remarks or topics, thereby diluting the message and making it tasteless.

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      Mukanya 4 years

      Uri machakachaka chaiwo echii?

    • comment-avatar
      Guti 4 years

      Yes we do become a nation of thieves because we voted these people in. We are responsible for their actions.

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    See my comments on Kudos to Charamba…..@Murimi… cannot comment because he is one of the looters trying to hide from the press now.

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    Mthwakazi 4 years

    You voted for these thieves in 1980 and 1985 so they could secure their power militarily – which they surely did unashamedly; while you danced and boasted shouting obscenities against Dr Joshua Nkomo and the Ndebele people.

    Even Mnangwagwa said it – that you can not remove gukurahundi ZANU PF; because the army is ZANLA, the Airforce is ZANLA, the police are ZANLA, the CIO is ZANLA and the Prison services are ZANLA.

    You fought PF ZAPU relentlessly for challenging them when they wanted to declare a one-party state to secure their thieving forever. What now are you crying about?

    Until you stop Shona tribalism and learn to vote for values, ideas, policies and principles not TRIBE – you will forever cry to your graves.

    NOW STOP MAKING NOISE – LIYASIDINA!!!

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    NBS 4 years

    Why wait for 2018. In any self respecting economy and half ‘rule of law’ nation the government would be forced to step down in absolute shame. And besides they are an illegal government. How do millions of Zimbabweans continue to accept ZPF’s theft, poll rigging and absolute criminality besides the utter destruction of a nation, its people an its economy. Where are the leadership in the opposition parties??? What are they doing besides fighting with each other. Maybe it is time for ZUNDE! Are they able to step up to the plate?

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    Khaya'bonina 4 years

    A nation of thieves , this is an insult to so many innocent people . The truth is that ZANU PF is messing up and those are the people to be labeled as thieves and they must be kicked out .

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    Rich 4 years

    Great! Our country must not wait till 2018, especially as Nikud, as thieving Jews before Christ and still up to now, will be able to receive lots of cash, from corrupted Zanu.

  • comment-avatar
    Mthwakazi 4 years

    You voted for these thieves in 1980 and 1985 so they could secure their power militarily – which they surely did unashamedly; while you danced and boasted shouting obscenities against Dr Joshua Nkomo and the Ndebele people.

    Even Mnangwagwa said it – that you can not remove gukurahundi ZANU PF; because the army is ZANLA, the Airforce is ZANLA, the police are ZANLA, the CIO is ZANLA and the Prison services are ZANLA.

    You fought PF ZAPU relentlessly for challenging them when they wanted to declare a one-party state to secure their thieving forever. What now are you crying about?

    Until you stop Shona tribalism and learn to vote for values, ideas, policies and principles not TRIBE – you will forever cry to your graves.

    NOW STOP MAKING NOISE – LIYASIDINA!!!

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    Joe 4 years

    Murimi is trying to figure out how to leave the country with his loot

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    PLEASE NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE COME 2018.EVERYBODY SEEMS TO BE FLOGGING A DEAD HORSE.THIS COUNTRY CANT GO ANOTHER DAY WITH THIS ILLEGATMIT PARTY NEVER MIND ANOTHER FOUR YEARS.THE SIGNS ARE THERE THAT WE ARE SLOWLY APPROACHING THE BOTTOM OF THE PIT.

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    farai 4 years

    The characterization of us being a nation of thieves is rather rich. If we were, there would be none of this prevailing collective repulsion and sense of betrayal over the salarygate saga. The majority of us are honest law abiding citizens trying to cope with the daily struggles of living under hostile conditions. No sir, we the majority refuse to be stereotyped as thieves. Rather speak for yourself! Some of the most corrupt amongst us are neither ZANU-Pf nor MDC-T, they are just scavenging maggots!

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    Who ever is responsible in stopping this from happening if u may do that with urgence that is if u have the heart of human race please do so now,Mwari inzwai