BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
Civic society yesterday implored President Emmerson Mnangagwa to deal with rising corruption among his top aides in government in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament today.
They claimed that the country was losing billions of dollars to corruption through illicit financial flows.
Mnangagwa is today also expected to officially open the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament and lay out a new legislative agenda.
The Third Session of the Ninth Parliament was adjourned in September.
Analysts told NewsDay that Mnangagwa should map a new plan to deal with rampant corruption, financial leakages, as well as the legislative agenda for Parliament.
Last week, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said the major perpetrators of corruption in the country were bigwigs, adding that the country was losing over US$1,8 billion annually to graft.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director Blessing Vava said Mnangagwa’s Sona and official opening of Parliament should serve as a platform to genuinely deal with the high unemployment rates and the plight of workers.
“On the economic front, it is our
hope that the President will appreciate the fact that corruption and the plunder of national resources (including by foreigners affiliated to the ruling party), continues to dent efforts towards economic recovery,” Vava said.
“It is also incumbent upon President Mnangagwa to appreciate the fact that the country’s bad human rights record, coupled with militarisation of key State institutions, continues to scare away potential investors. High-level corruption in Zimbabwe is one of the huge factors that have failed to instil investor confidence.”
He said Mnangagwa should also address the issue of unfair distribution of revenue from natural resources as well as displacement of locals to pave way for mining activities.
Vava blasted Parliament for acting as a government accomplice in entrenching authoritarian rule through disregarding the will of the people during the previous Third Session of the Ninth Parliament.
He said the ruling party abused its parliamentary majority to introduce laws that had the impact of shrinking democratic space in the country, adding that Parliament had failed to play its oversight role and resultantly, “issues such as draconian legislation, corruption and weaponisation of the Judiciary continue unabated.”
Political analyst Eldred Masunungure said he expected Mnangagwa to outline a legal framework that was in line with government’s plans on progress, and which would also protect the media and civic society organisations in order to promote democracy and accountability.
“Zimbabweans are in despondency due to the economic meltdown. Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is making claims that the economy is flourishing, but it is actually the other way round. People are suffering. The positive economic performance of a country should not be proven on paper,” he said.
“Mnangagwa should address the real economic woes that are bedevilling the economy today in his Sona. There is also need for government to be clear on the legal framework on protection of media practitioners and civil society organisations from harassment to promote checks and balances on the Executive.”
Masunungure said the previous session of Parliament was chaotic, resulting in the electorate being short-changed after several MDC Alliance MPs were recalled.
“Parliament has several vacant seats and the elections have been postponed indefinitely. In one way or the other, we can’t say the discussions that were conducted during the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament were advancing the will of the people,” he said.
“The recalls have killed the vibrant and robust Parliament in its oversight role. The same recalls have disbanded the once vicious parliamentary committees which were crucial in promoting accountability.”
Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation executive director Samuel Wadzai said traders hoped that Mnangagwa would announce a legislative framework that would support the informal sector, which contributed significantly to the gross domestic product of the country.
“In the previous Sona delivered last year, the President announced that Treasury would avail $18 billion stimulus package which was for vulnerable social groups to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vendors are part of those socially vulnerable groups, but our members have not benefited,” he said, adding that Mnangagwa’s speech should emphasise transparency, inclusivity and accountability in the management of State resources.