via Mugabe must stop high-level graft – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 27, 2015
President Robert Mugabe’s State of the Nation address on Tuesday brought out two key issues: either the veteran politician does not have the solutions to the challenges confronting the economy or he is running away from the truth.
The crisis besetting Zimbabwe does not require a 10-point plan to regenerate the economy. Rather, political will is what is looked-for to implement economic blueprints.
Zimbabwe has had several economic blueprints since the turn of the millennium. Notable examples include the Millennium Economic Recovery Programme, National Economic Recovery Programme and National Economic Development Priority Programme — all designed to stimulate the troubled economy.
Sadly, the plans were all abandoned casting aspersions on government’s sincerity to resuscitate the ailing economy. Hence, one would have expected Mugabe to expound further on the “mega deals” signed last year. Are they still coming to fruition? Or have they become mega flops?
Mugabe rumbled on the expected reforms on parastatals and State-owned enterprises. But, this has been a common hymn for more than a decade. It is an undisputable fact that reforming parastatals will not be a stroll in the park as these are the same State-owned entities always ready to financially support Zanu PF’s numerous gatherings.
These are the same entities that are the feeding troughs for the well-connected, where“jobs for the boys” syndrome is prevalent. That all is not well in the economy is not a secret. Mugabe should understand that this is no time for political rhetoric, but action.
Given the situation obtaining in the country, there is nothing to suggest that government is serious about mending the ailing economy. Because if government was serious why hasn’t the Indigenisation Act been amended to make it more investor-friendly?
That alone could lure foreign investors into the country. Mugabe must understand that Zimbabwe does not live in a vacuum. The sooner that he realises that there are so many investment destinations, the better. It is regrettable that Foreign Direct Investment inflows statistics show that Zimbabwe is unfriendly in terms of attracting investments.
Zimbabweans are saddened because Mugabe has never fulfilled his promises when it comes to fighting corruption, which is endemic in Zanu PF and top government echelons. Yet, on Tuesday, he tried to hoodwink the public by claiming that he was committed to fighting graft.
Is it not true that each year, the Auditor-General’s Office exposes the rot in parastatals and State-owned enterprises? Nothing has, however, happened to the culprits simply because of their proximity to Zanu PF.
Sleaze is embedded in government to the extent that the State has now become the employer of choice. But, the corruption dragnet targets the small fish while the powerful are immune to arrests.
The recent arrests of so-called “land barons” bear testimony to that. We believe government should be firm in its anti-corruption fight. Zimbabweans are aware that Mugabe knows what needs to be done, but is reluctant for selfish reasons. There is no doubt that corruption is the biggest threat to this economy.
Many times investors have expressed their willingness to invest in the country, but pull out after top government officials demanded kick-backs. Corruption is cancerous, and until Mugabe deals with high level corruption in government he remains a paper tiger.