BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
OPPOSITION MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti yesterday described the ruling elite as “roving bandits” who are clinging to power to loot national resources without concern for the ordinary citizens’ welfare.
In a virtual address on corruption, the former Finance minister accused government officials of concentrating on accumulating personal wealth at the expense of ordinary citizens.
“Corruption in Zimbabwe is dominated by the roving bandits. The challenge with the Zimbabwean roving bandits is that they leave nothing for the ordinary citizen. That is why Zimbabwe is extremely poor when it is generating billions of dollars,”he said.
“It’s only them and their children who are benefiting when the majority are surviving on US$0,25 per day. Corruption has become the greatest threat that our country faces. It affects every sphere of Zimbabwean life. It has become a threat to the existence of Zimbabwe itself as a nation.”
Biti said each year, gold worth US$1,5 billion is smuggled out of the country, mainly to South Africa and Dubai for the benefit of the elite.
He added that Zimbabwe was losing other resources worth US$3 billion each year to corruption, excluding losses from illicit financial flows.
“We are now ranked by Transparency International-Zimbabwe as the 20th most corrupt country in the world. What is shocking is that we have overtaken countries that have been traditionally associated with extraction such as Nigeria. At this rate in which corruption is accelerating in the country, I have no doubt that we will overtake every country in Africa,” Biti said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has established the Special Anti-Corruption Commission in his office to improve efficiency in the fight against graft, but critics have said the institution is being used to fight his political enemies.