via Mujuru must resign – DailyNews Live by Fungi Kwaramba 11 FEBRUARY 2014
Acting President Joice Mujuru must resign for “condoning corruption” in government and State-owned enterprises, media experts and political analysts said yesterday.
This follows her “outrageous” call for the media to stop covering the obscene salaries of managers of State-owned firms pocketing millions of dollars in pay while the economy stutters.
Besides outrageous salaries, bosses at State enterprises are also involved in massive corruption in procurement where they inflate invoices for personal gain.
Mujuru said the media campaign that has riveted the nation was part of a crusade by enemies within Zanu PF working for the downfall of the party.
She made the controversial remarks while addressing the party’s Mashonaland West provincial women’s conference in Chinhoyi on Saturday.
“Nditeererei madzimai … Iyi nyaya yatiri kutaura iyi yehuori hwemaparastatals muchenjere kuti ndeimwe nzira yaunzwa nevanhu vari kuda kupwanya nyika ino iyi (Please listen to me ladies, regarding reports about corruption in parastatals -— be careful — it’s another tactic being used by those keen to destroy the country),” she said.
In thinly veiled remarks seen as targeted at Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who has been spearheading an anti-graft campaign that has won kudos from many Zimbabweans, Mujuru said this was a campaign meant to ensure the party implodes.
“Regai kuzoti vanhu vacho havasi veZanu-PF, aiwa, zvinonzi kana usingagone kumukurira unomujoina, worova uchibva mukati make, saka mochenjera (Do not say these people are not Zanu PF … it is said that if you cannot defeat them join them and attack from within; so be careful).”
Moyo has tapped into genuine concerns in the ruling party about the money gobbled by perennially loss-making State companies and said corruption was “allegedly rampant among the 78 parastatals and State enterprises and the 92 local authorities in the country”.
Now dubbed the “Salarygate scandal’, it has sucked into its vortex ZBC and Psmas, the State-run health insurer for civil servants and the Harare City Council.
Mujuru, reportedly leading the stakes to succeed Mugabe, who turns 90 on February 21, said the media must back off the scandal.
“Nyaya idzi hadzitongwe mumanewspaper; inyaya dzinonyatsogadzirwa magadzirirwo adzo,” (These issues should not be dealt with by newspapers. We have a way to deal with the issues) she said adding that the way the scandals were being reported suggested other motives beyond fighting corruption.
Brian Mangwende, chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) said the media was duty bound to expose corruption.
“With all due respect to the powers that be, it is the media’s role and duty, lest it is found wanting, to expose corruption and abuse of office by public officials, who thrive on tax payers’ money,” Mangwende said.
“Let it be made clear that, the exposure has no malicious intention but to bring sanity to otherwise errant public servants.”
Foster Dongozi, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, sarcastically suggested that the VP was probably misquoted.
“I don’t think it is true that the VP said that,” Dongozi told the Daily News.
“The vice president is a patriotic person and could never have said that. The media is there to do exactly what it did. The media has done its patriotic role of exposing the rot in the high corridors of power, with all due respect, I would like to think that she was misquoted. It doesn’t make sense because everyone is agreed on the issue.”
After winning the disputed elections last year, Mugabe told journalists to bring evidence of corruption, even to the State House, and Mujuru’s remarks are seen going against the grain.
Although Mugabe is yet to make a public statement on the salary gate, Moyo, has said the veteran leader was dismayed by the scandal.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, said Mujuru’s utterances were politically corrosive to the standing of the government as a whole.
“What is important for Zimbabweans to note is that the ongoing corruption is State and government-sanctioned,” Ruhanya said. “It also tells us without any shadow of doubt that Mujuru should not be allowed to be the next president of Zimbabwe; she is not fit for that job because the State will be a huge crook.
“Under normal circumstances, citizens should rise up and demand her immediate resignation from public office. That statement is disgraceful.”
Britain-based Zimbabwean journalist and social commentator Innocent Chofamba Sithole said: “Mai Mujuru fails totally to read the national mood on corruption. Against the background of a so-called succession race that is long on personalities and short on policy debate, utterances such as these provide telling clues about the suitability of some of these alleged front-runners in their bid to succeed President Mugabe.
“As a journalist, I am also deeply troubled by the VP’s apparent attack of the media’s role as the Fourth Estate. We’ve been waiting a long time to see a public media with real teeth, and just when they’re beginning to do so, we are told the media has no business exposing corruption?”