Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) Harare provincial spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire claims that President Robert Mugabe institutionalised corruption when he pardoned government ministers implicated in the Willowgate scandal way back in the late 1980s.
Source: Mugabe institutionalised corruption: Mawarire – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 2, 2016 by Everson Mushava
The Willowgate scandal implicated ministers in a car racket between 1988 and 1989, which later resulted in then Cabinet minister Maurice Nyagumbo committing suicide before Mugabe pardoned other ministers implicated in the scam.
Those top leaders pardoned included then Local Government minister the late Enos Chikowore, Defence minister Enos Nkala, Industry minister Callistus Ndlovu and Zimbabwe’s current permanent representative to the United Nations Frederick Shava.
In a presentation at the Mass Public Opinion in Harare last Thursday, Mawarire said: “Following the pardoning of those involved in the Willowgate scandal, it dawned upon those in government that they too, could loot national resources and get Mugabe’s protection from prosecution. This gave birth to several other scandals involving government ministers and other top Zanu PF officials.”
Mawarire’s claims dovetailed with remarks by Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, who last week bemoaned the fact that hardcore criminals were corruptly buying their freedom and enjoying State protection.
The War Victims’ Compensation Fund set aside for liberation war fighters injured during the armed struggle, was also looted by top Zanu PF and government ministers in the late 1990s.
Top government officials were also implicated in the land reform of 2000, the country’s indigenisation funds, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s agricultural mechanization programme, among many others.
Mawarire said there was also a lot of underhand dealings in the awarding of a diamond mining licence to Mbada, jointly owned by a subsidiary of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and a South African company, New Reclamation Group (Pty) Limited (“Reclam”).
“The deal was not subject to public tender and as ZMDC’s own documents reveal, Reclam had no obvious qualifications to run a mining company,” he said.
Mawarire said there was need for a comprehensive approach to end corruption. This, he said, should include the arresting and conviction of people implicated in white collar crimes.
“There is need for government to equip the anti-corruption commission with necessary tools, both financial and human, to fight corruption. The commission should be given arresting powers,” he said.
“Government should also repeal any unreasonable law that fuels corruption, such as the law that empowers police officers to collect spot fines.”