Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau—
Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi has warned that the country cannot develop if corruption remains rife especially among leaders in Government, and has called for decisive action against the scourge.Addressing war veterans in Chinhoyi on Sunday, Dr Sekeramayi said no-one should condone corruption adding that those found guilty should be punished severely.
“Some have raised the issue of corruption and it has to be known that no one favours corruption. Those who face allegations should go through due legal process according to the laws of the land,” he said.
“Corruption is being fought from various fronts because there is no country that can develop in an environment where corruption is rife, especially among top Government officials.”
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa and officials from the ministry are facing allegations of siphoning nearly $500 000 from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.
Dr Sekeramayi emphasised that those found guilty after due process should be brought to book.
War veterans had called on Government to stamp its authority on corruption by flushing out corrupt elements within its ranks to boost confidence among the people.
Hundreds of war veterans from Harare, Mashonaland Central and West provinces met here at a no-holds barred meeting attended by Dr Sekeramayi, the Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Political Detainees and Restrictees Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube and his Permanent Secretary Brigadier-General (retired) Walter Tapfumaneyi.
“It becomes very difficult for us to accept that the economy is not performing well when we see people building obscene mansions while the rest of us are wallowing in poverty,” said a war veteran.
The veterans said numerous cases of corruption involving Government officials had been reported but no concrete action had been taken so far.
They denounced the interim leaders of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association Cdes George Mlala, Robert Ncube and Richard Chinengundu saying that they were dividing the association and demanded an explanation on why their former leader Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa was deposed from his position.
They tasked Dr Sekeramayi to inform President Mugabe that they were no longer comfortable working with Rtd Brigadier-General Tapfumaneyi.
The war veterans said they were not happy with comments attributed to Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi in The Sunday Mail in which he castigated some war veterans for organising a meeting in Masvingo on Saturday. Every mention of his name attracted jeers from the gallery and he failed to address the veterans though he was on the programme. Most of those in attendance said there was no plot to push President Mugabe out of office.
“We are pained that someone can just say that we met to plot the removal of President Mugabe from office when we were meeting to discuss issues to do with our welfare. We are the ones who chose Cde Mutsvangwa to lead us and, we have not yet come to a point where we have dismissed him,” fumed a war veteran.
Contacted for comment Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said it was a mob of rented war veterans who were bent on disrupting the meeting.
“We had information that there would be some people wanting to disrupt the meeting so we were not surprised at all. In holding these meetings, we have no other brief but to find out their (war vets) challenges and also to brief them on what we are doing to improve their welfare,” he said.
He said previous meetings in Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare were successful and without incident.
He said the meetings were aimed at explaining to war veterans efforts being made to integrate them into the party through structures starting at the cell level like the Women’s and Youth leagues.
He said they will also have a directorate at the Zanu-PF offices.
Turning to The Sunday Mail story, Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi said he expressed an opinion which was not quoted in its proper context adding that he was serving at the pleasure of the President who appointed him.
“If the President who appointed me feels that I am no longer fulfilling my mandate, then I would be left with no choice. But those accusing me of serving a faction are mistaken because factions actually disgust me. My loyalty is with the President,” he said.
Rtd Brig-Gen Tapfumaneyi is being accused of belonging to the G40 faction by some sections of war veterans.