2 July 2017
AUDITOR General (AG), Mildred Chiri, has tabled reports in the National
Assembly that make for sad reading.
A perusal of the voluminous documents produced by the AG, who must be
commended for her courage in telling it like it is, confirms what we had
long feared; that there is a complete break-down of corporate governance
practices in government, where everything seems to have gone horribly
The maladministration, corruption, poor oversight, and plunder of public
funds in ministries, parastatals, statutory bodies and government agencies
has been left to go unchecked such that it has now reached alarming
It may just be a matter of time before we plumped to the levels of
strife-torn Afghanistan, ranked the worst governed country in the world
and where in 2009 alone, the Kabul administration funnelled about $2,5
billion in bribes – roughly one quarter of that country’s Gross Domestic
In some of the previous editions of our sister publication, the Daily
News, it was reported that 15 Sate-owned enterprises are on the verge of
collapse because of rampant mismanagement, undercapitalisation and graft.
One of the parastatals, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe,
paid $25 000 in fees to a non-existent board.
At the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, $28 million used to fund the
2012 national census cannot be accounted for, while the Defence ministry
was mum on the whereabouts of $2 million, which they cannot account for.
At public hospitals, where patients cannot access essential drugs due to
poor funding, there is also unbridled abuse of the taxpayer’s money and
hospital fees, with machinery at some of the institutions, lying idle.
The list is endless.
This could just be a microcosm of the rot gripping our society, which
calls for comprehensive reforms to improve the nation’s hygiene.
Short of a root-and-branch shake-up that starts with the government itself
that requires a major overhaul of its systems, it may just be a matter of
time before it becomes a dog’s breakfast in the civil service.
Sadly, there is no political will in the Executive to confront the
Government should have swiftly responded to these damning revelations by
the AG by assigning competent forensic auditors to dig deep into her
findings to enable the long arm of the law to catch up with those who are
abusing public funds, while at the same time uprooting incompetent civil
servants that are a burden to the taxpayer.
One government minister has suggested that government should establish a
committee to look into Chiri’s reports. What for?
Who doesn’t know that government uses committees to buy time and wash its
hands on issues that might blow up right in its face?
There has never been political will on its part to ensure that justice is
done to adverse reports produced by the AG, including taking up Chiri’s
Since her appointment on February 24, 2004, Chiri has been churning out
reports alerting government to its shortcomings but her advice and
findings have been ignored time without number.
This has been the trend, even during Eric Harrid’s time and even before
These voluminous reports are gathering dust in high offices. And life goes
There must be a good explanation why government is not acting on these
We cannot help but suspect that the ruling Zanu PF party, its officials
and senior government officials are benefiting from this rot because they
should have descended on the bureaucracy like a tonne of bricks if their
hands were clean.
The blame, however, lies with us Zimbabweans.
We have not been able to push President Robert Mugabe’s government to
We have also been too soft with our representatives, be they councillors,
Members of Parliament or Senators, whom we treat with kid gloves.
In certain instances, we have been hero-worshipping people whom we elect
into public offices instead of insisting on servant leadership.
The end result has been that the public servant has become an arrogant
master, who has become greedy in the process.
The AG has done her part. Her role is to provide independent assurance
that governmental activities are carried out, and accounted for consistent
with Parliament’s intentions.
It is now up to Parliament to exercise its oversight role to the
satisfaction of all stakeholders.