Will 2014 usher in an Egypt style revolution in Zimbabwe? Part 3

via Will 2014 usher in an Egypt style revolution in Zimbabwe? Part 3 February 4, 2014 by By Dr Clifford Chitupa Mashiri

In Part One, we explored two contrasting perspectives on the possibility of an Egypt-style revolution in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

On the one hand, the late Professor Makumbe emphasised that “there is a price for freedom,” and dismissed comments that Zimbabweans are too afraid to take their frustrations onto the streets; while on the other hand, historian Diana Mitchell signalled that an Egyptian style revolution is not possible in Zimbabwe. We also noted Mao Tse Tung’s cautionary statement that ‘a revolution is not a dinner party.’ 

Anecdotal evidence seems however to suggest that some of the six “symptoms” of a revolution propounded by Crane Brinton’s Theory of Revolution do exist in Zimbabwe today. For instance, we learnt in Part Two that: (a) People become discontented; (b) People feel restless; (c) Scholars and thinkers give up on the way their society operates. (d) The government does not respond to the needs of its society. (e) The government is unable to get enough support from any group to save itself. (f) The government cannot organise its finances correctly and is either going bankrupt and/or trying to tax heavily. Of course government is still getting enough support from the military otherwise it would be history by now.

It is worthwhile, in this last instalment (Part Three) to focus on one symptom of Zimbabwe’s ‘fever’ – corruption which is arguably the regime’s major Achilles heel (weakness or vulnerable point). Drawing on lessons from the Arab Spring it is only right and proper that we analyse Zimbabwe’s vulnerability to corruption risk and its implications in the light of recent disclosures that top executives of parastatals are earning mega salaries. We will then conclude with an evaluation of the regime’s capacity to handle the growing pandemic. 

Highest known mega salary in Zimbabwe 

Of all the known mega salaries in Zimbabwe at the moment, it is Cuthbert Dube’s reported US$500,000 monthly pay as CEO of the Public Service Medical Aid Scheme (PSMAS) that set tongues wagging. Those in the know say Dube earned almost twice the US$230,000 initially reported when his generous allowances equivalent to his monthly basic salary are added, plus a bonus of over US$1 million.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, this brought his annual earnings in 2013 to US$6.4 million. And he was not alone in pocketing a windfall since the annual wage bill for the 15 PSMAS executives for 2013 was a whopping US$18.6 million with Dube taking more than a third of it (The Herald, ‘Cuthbert Dube grossed US$6.4m per year,’ 31/01/14 Despite claims that Dube who is now nicknamed “Cashbert”, had been fired, the Daily News which visited the PSMAS headquarters on Saturday 1st February found that he was still in his office (see Daily News, ‘Dube still in office’, 02//02/14).

Yet more shocking was the revelation that half of  PSMAS wage bill of US$33.4 million in 2012 was paid to 14 managers, with the finance manager pocketing a basic salary of US$200 000, followed by group operations executive at US$122 000. According to The Zimbabwe Independent, eight other senior directors were earning a basic salary of US$60 000 a month while middle managers were paid US$30 000, US$22 000 and US$15 000 each.

The other scandal is about the City of Harare’s close to US$500 000 monthly salaries expenditure on 18 managers the highest paid allegedly being the Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi at US$37 642. That came after ZBC’s own scandal of Happison Muchechetere’s US$40 000 monthly pay. Coupled with these revelations is the alleged prejudice of nearly six million euros and US$1 298 828 at Air Zimbabwe in a four year aviation insurance scam believed to involve the airline’s top management, according to a forensic audit.

From one shock to another: Zimbabwe’s new diet

To add insult to injury on the poor taxpayer is another shocker that the public and private company managers getting hefty salaries are not paying their full taxes with some of them manipulating loopholes in the revenue collection system to evade taxes. An indication that Zimbabwe’s corrupt executives have come of age in the art of tax evasion is the reported “official” payrolls that show reasonable salaries and benefits, while on the other hand separate pay systems see cash directly paid to managers without anything reaching the tax department.

As a result one wonders what the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s CID, Police Internal Security, Fraud and Commercial Crime Units as well as their feared allies – the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) do. Rather than probing economic sabotage, they are probably concentrating on harassing kombi drivers and locking up democracy and human rights activists.

Did Mugabe know about the salaries? 

Despite denials by minister of state Didymus Mutasa that the Zanu-Pf leader Robert Mugabe knew about the ‘looting,’ MDC-T’s former minister of state enterprises Gorden Moyo contends that Mugabe and Zanu-PF were well-appraised of the rot in parastatals during the Government of National Unity (GNU) era, but never took action.

“Line ministers were accomplices to the crimes so they could not prevail on the parastatal bosses,” he said (The Zimbabwe Standard, ‘Mugabe knew about obscene salaries: Moyo,” 02/02/14). Moyo alleged parastatal bosses were bribing ministers with top of the range vehicles such as Mercedes Benz and Toyota Land Cruisers as well as fuel and airtime over and above their official government allocations.

The implications of corruption are too ghastly to contemplate when we consider that the lowest paid civil servant earns US$375 per month. Zimbabwe’s pay disparities have the potential of triggering social unrest in view of the fact that as of 2011 lecturers at state-run universities earned up to US$1 200 per month while college lecturers took home US$200 monthly (see University World News, ‘Government divided over pay hike, 03/07/11). That was an improvement on 2010 whereby the highest paid lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe earned US$290 a month far short of the salaries of up to US$2 000 paid to other academics in the region. However, the state media’s motive in the ongoing salaries scandals deserves analysis. 

What is the state media’s motive?

It could be argued that the Zanu-PF succession crisis has assumed a new dimension of media driven overt and covert campaigns which are nothing but smoke and mirrors. Though the revelations are definitely shocking and distressing especially for some office workers who are having to fetch water from wells in urban areas and preparing food on wood fires while fat cats pocket six figure salaries monthly, what is surprising is the timing and apparent biased stance by the pro-Zanu-PF media under the leadership of Jonathan Moyo.

While Perestroika is long overdue in Zanu-PF, Moyo’s real motives remain suspect as he is believed to be out to score points against Vice President Joyce Mujuru because most of those exposed so far appear to be loyal to Mrs Mujuru. In his posturing about corruption in the country’s parastatals and local authorities, Jonathan Moyo’s challenge is to go beyond factions.

The Mujuru faction was in November 2013 ‘livid’ particularly with Jonathan Moyo and George Charamba accusing them of pushing the Mnangagwa agenda in the succession battle. According to The Daily News, “they are also angry with Moyo for savaging party spokesman Rugare Gumbo over the Mashonaland Central provincial vote” (See ‘Mujuru faction hits back’ 22/11/13). But the grudge goes back to December 2004 when Jonathan Moyo who had “fashioned a personality cult around himself” was unexpectedly dropped from Zanu-PF’s central committee and publicly reprimanded by the party leader Robert Mugabe.

Moyo was accused of plotting against Joyce Mujuru, a veteran of the liberation struggle who became Zimbabwe’s new vice president that year. Mugabe seized the opportunity to deliver what analysts described as a “calculated rebuff” to an increasingly erratic and unpopular minister whose main role is to vilify the regime’s opponents and wreck Zimbabwe’s free media (See the Telegraph, Mugabe slaps down his unpopular disciple, 06/12/04).

Although, the public expects action to be taken against those found wanting in the exposed graft, there does not seem to be any appetite for serious action. For example, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo swiftly reversed the suspension of Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi and adjusted salaries at Town House while Jonathan Moyo shielded Cuthbert Dube from any further probe for his role at ZBC saying he had been punished enough.

Is the regime capable of clamping down on corruption?

Given that Robert Mugabe’s top officials including ministers could be receiving millions of dollars in bribes from foreign businesspersons who are introduced to him as clean businessmen yet some of them are known international fraudsters and money launderers, it is unlikely the regime has the capacity let alone political will to clamp down on corruption.

Even more worrying is the admission by the Commissioner of Taxes Gesham Pasi (I prefer using that old job title) that his officials are finding the going tough in investigating several cases of tax-evasion because anti-graft authorities are complicit in corruption (See the Herald, ‘Fat cats evade taxes.’02/02/14). Meanwhile, the former attorney general now Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana has said there will be no prosecutions until police have finished their investigations, assuming there are any taking place.

But one concerned Zimbabwean has probably summed-up the public feelings saying:

“Greed and Corruption make a very nasty brew, one that can only thrive and grow in the dark. We need light in these dark places and must remember that light always defeats darkness. When we discover what is being done to us, we then need a democratic revolution to sweep away the debris and bring in a new generation that will restore sanity to our public affairs” (Eddie Cross, ‘Unbridled greed now out of control,’ The Zimbabwean 28/01/14).

Clifford holds a PhD in International Relations. He is also an author, political analyst, former diplomat and a fulltime PhD Social Sciences candidate at London South Bank University. His doctoral research is on forced migration. Zimanalysis2009@gmail.com.

 

 

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18 comments on “Will 2014 usher in an Egypt style revolution in Zimbabwe? Part 3
  1. tafadzwa maguta says:

    any thought of the arab spring prospects in zimbabwe is far fetched .zimbabweans had undergo worse conditions and they had emerged much stronger and docile than ever.zanupf had realised this and it will continue to reward its kin and kith benefits beyond their wildest dreams.history does repeats itself to these guys,we had heard of worse cases before but not even a single culprit was jailed,what makes these emerging cases exceptional?as long as the rule this country we are doomed.

  2. Harper says:

    Arab Spring in Zimbabwe most unlikely for some time yet. Too many town dwellers are too docile and rural residents are too easily intimidated, no one can blame the rural population for just wanting to be left alone.

  3. Qiniso says:

    Who wants the stupid Arab Spring in Zim ba Clifford Chitupa Mashiri. Do you…if you do, I have a ticket for you to go visit one Arab country which had the so called spring and then let a simple man like me and the rest of Zimbos know how good life is after the spring. Are you game?

    .

  4. Zvakwana says:

    Qiniso whats the alternative?

  5. rebel says:

    The problem is the excessive force which our ruthless military uses. Any gathering or any civil comotion the police and the army will come out in full force. I worked in the police force but resigned after seeing the massive corruption which was in the organisation.
    Kuenda kuduty kwaChiadzwa kwaienda anobhadhara shefu after tour of duty. But ini ndairamba and adressed the juniors that it was a national duty to protect the mineral not to steal and to create wealth for themselves.
    I was transfered several times coz ndaiongorora mashefu. I used to instruct the fuel attendants kuti mota inowana fuel ndeye station not shefu arikuenda kumunda achibva kuHarare or somewhere. Makii aitomboshaikwa for several hours to furastrate them. Boards of inquiry for my suitability were convened but handina kumbobvira ndakabatwa.
    Those who are still in the force know the author of this comment. In 2008 I received two postal ballot papers for voting. I refused to vote on the other one because it was double voting.
    What I am trying to say is that I was trying to do things right for my children who are at school. Kana vakura they should enjoy staying in Zimbabwe as free Zimbabweans. Nyika inenge iine hupenyu hwakanaka.
    Kune avo vanoshandiswa neavo vanoshandisa fungai ramangwana remhuri dzenyu.
    The last thing is that mhirizhonga haishandi coz munourayiwa for sure.The only way is to urge all the working class mostly civil servants to stay at home until zvinhu zvaitwa nenzira chaiyo. It will be the call of every zimbabwean.everyone should support it. Problem ndiyoyo yekuti vazhinji vanofunga kuti ndikadzingwa basa ndozodii. Svinurai vanhuwe kusvikarini tichingochema.Ndakasiya chipurisa vamwe vakati unonotambura but I tell u I am living a better life than before. Mari yekuguma hainaki if u fear god coz mumwe anenge aine misodzi pamatama.Policemen and women fungai remangwana not to supress people with genuine reasons. Nemiwo muchatongwa.

    • 3poop says:

      thanks for the info shamwari.you are right indeed mari yekuba ayina blessing kana.morality shamwari morality comes first

  6. Johnson@yahoo.com says:

    THERE IS NO NIGHT WITHOUT END. TH

  7. Johnson@yahoo.com says:

    INEVITABLY AS GOD LIVES THE NIGHT ENDS WITH DAWN UNLESS WE ARE NOT IN THIS WORLD. WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN A NIGHT WITHOUT END? NIGHT….WITH…..NO….END! THAT WOULD BE OUR WORST NIGHTMARE. NIGHTMARISH NIGHTMARE. THE NIGHT HAS TO END SOONER OR LATER…BUT THE SOONER THE BETTER. WE MUST BE ABLE TO SAY GOOD MORNING SOMETIME, AFTER SAYING IT IN 2000. WE YEARN FOR A MORNING. GOD, OH ALMIGHTY, OH JEHOVAH, OH I AM, MAY YOU GIVE US A MORNING. WE KNOW WE ARE SINNERS, BUT CAN’T WE BE FORGIVEN. WHY DO WE HAVE ALL THE CURSES–A NIGHT, THORNS, LIONS, LEOPARDS, SHARKS, RAPISTS, IDOLATORS, THIEVES, MURDERERS, CROCODILES, MOSQUITOES, THE LIST GOES ON? WHY? CAN THIS CIRCUS GO ON? CAN IT CONTINUE? DO WE HAVE SUCH SUPERNATURAL ENDURANCE? MY PEOPLE DAWN MUST BE NEAR….FOR THERE IN NO NIGHT WITHOUT END!!!

  8. Johnson@yahoo.com says:

    ISAAC NEWTON’S LAW OF MOTION CAN BE USED TO PRIDICT WHAT WILL ENNEVITABLY HAPPEN IN ZIMBABWE CONSIDERING THE MISGOVERNANCE AND LEVELS OF IMPACT OF GRAND CORRUPTION ON THE POPULATION. CAN A MIGHTY BODY HIT ANOTHER WITH GARGANTUAN FORCE WITHOUT IMPACT OR SIGNIFICANT EFFECT. WELL GUYS FOR HOMEWORK I PRESENT NEWTON’S LAWS OF MOTION TO MAKE YOUR OWN ANALYSIS. HEY GUYS. SEE NEWTON’S THESIS BEFORE AND TELL US WHETHER OR NOT NEWTON LIED, TAKING THE CURRENT ZIM STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ACCOUNT:

    First law: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either is at rest or moves at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.[2][3]
    Second law: The vector sum of the forces on an object is equal to the total mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration of the object. In more technical terms, the acceleration of a body is directly proportional to, and in the same direction as, the net force acting on the body, and inversely proportional to its mass. Thus, F = ma, where F is the net force acting on the object, m is the mass of the object and a is the acceleration of the object. Force and acceleration are both vectors (as denoted by the bold type). This means that they have both a magnitude (size) and a direction relative to some reference frame.
    Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to that of the first body.

  9. Johnson@yahoo.com says:

    A REVOLUTION IS NOT A RESULT OF DISCUSSION OF WHETHER IT WILL HAPPEN OR NOT. IF IT HAS TO HAPPEN IT SHALL COME TO PASS WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT…..AND HAPPEN IT WILL IF THE SHIP CONTINUES TO MOVE TOWARDS THE MOSI-A- TUNYA FALLS. WHICH CREW MEMBER WILL REMAIN IN A SINKING TITANIC….IF THERE ARE OPTIONS. GUYS THE TITANIC IS SINKING!!! THE DEAF SHALL NEVER HEAR!!!

  10. Johnson@yahoo.com says:

    IF THE SPRING IS FURIOUSLY COILING WHAT THE HELL CAN STOP THE CATAPULTING! UNLESS THERE IS NO MORE PHYSICS.

  11. Johnson@yahoo.com says:

    THE BEHAVIOUR OF A HEAVILY COILED SPRING IS ALWAYS CONSISTENT. THE SPRING WILL TAKE PLACE SOONER OR LATER. DON’T YOU THINK SO GUYS? I FOR ONE TEND TO THINK LIKE THAT. I AM SORRY I AM USING THE RATIONAL MODEL OF THOUGHT! LETS HEAR FROM THE IRRATIONAL GURUS!!

  12. Nkiwane (M'kiwa) says:

    No, I don’t think it will happen. Zimbabweans do not like violence and are too scared to do anything like that.

    It will be like Burma. ZPF will be in charge for 50 years or more and Bob will be in charge until he dies in office. I think he has another 7-8 years in him – he looks fit as a fiddle. He will be like Banda.

    We are stuffed. If you’re Zezuru AND extremely well-connected you may have a chance, otherwise forget it.

  13. tugamba says:

    Whether you want it or not revolution is coming shortly. I will be in the fore front.

  14. Abbu says:

    I believe there is a revolution around e corner. Those who say Zimbos ar cowards must be missing 2 crucial things: 1. There is no serious opposition party to rally its supporters to stage protests. The current opposition leadership is tired kana iri MDC T yazara malawyers who believe in filing court applications as opposed to take zpf head on in e streets no matter what it takes. 2. The other important point to note is whereas b4 we flocked to SA for better life manje life is SA is becoming tough especially w e Rand in a free fall saka tichashaya kwekutizira zvoreva kuti frustration is going to reach boiling point sooner than latter. My worry is there is going to be spontaneous strikes in Zim ende iwaya ar dangerous cos anonetsa kupedza unlike organized ones cos there is nobody who can call them off since pasina akamboaronga

  15. Bhola says:

    Akula nto enjalo eZimbabwe. The bronze in the ZRP earns $247 nd not $375 nd is not the least paid. Then he suppliments it with corrupt activities especially on the road nd through cattle rustling in Mat-south where stock is in abundance. If he impliments any policy which shuts down his mine, where will he find the gold to feed his family? This is why he shoots down democracy to sustain his corrupt condoning master. Anyone who goes to the street will be championing democracy nd will meet the armed bronze. Several Tacticians are pedestrians while 75% of the bronze are motorists, where the hell do they get the money considering their salaries? Have u ever wondered why their loyality surpasses that of a dog? If u are not corrupt in the force you should brace up for serious allegations meant to eliminate you. Man, the Egyptian style of revolution is far fetched in Zimbabwe. Loot also nd survive, your children will also learn the survival tactics just like a leopard’s cub.

  16. Ndebvu Mukomichi says:

    Me says:
    There is nothing like that. Otherwise those who are drunk enough to start a rebellion against the Zimbo govt know what will happen to them- no prisoners will be taken this time!
    The alternative: Let all work together to build the nations under RGM and ZPF.

  17. Bhola says:

    That’s more than true, the bronze will not have time to take in prisoners who will again find their way back into the society and brew more trouble. Remember the best way to defeat your enemy is to destroy him in total. Yes working with Zanu PF will only achieve better results if Teurai ropa who seems more level headed than the former BODYGUARD captains the ship
    ukhulu sesazama ukumbonisa kodwa kazameki. Sesimelele ukutshona kwelanga.

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