via Mugabe must resign over corruption — MP April 14, 2014 in NewsDay by Blessed Mhlanga
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe must resign in embarrassment for failing to deal with corruption as well as misinforming the nation over graft allegations levelled against former Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) boss Godwills Masimirembwa, Mabvuku/Tafara MP James Maridadi has said.
If he does not resign, said Maridadi, Mugabe must fire his informants for misinforming the presidency over the alleged corruption scandal involving Masimirembwa.
Addressing editors at a workshop in Gweru last Friday, Maridadi said it was embarrassing that Mugabe made a bold assertion that Masimirembwa had corruptly received money from a Ghanaian investor and withdrew the statement hardly three months down the line.
“I am worried about the quality of information that the Head of State uses to make crucial decisions that affect the country because elsewhere, presidents are properly briefed and do not make uninformed pronouncements in public,” he said of the bluff.
Maridadi said he had the opportunity to be at a meeting between United States President Barack Obama and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and was mesmerised by the knowledge Obama had on Zimbabwe.
“The kinds of questions he asked about Zimbabwe showed that he was well briefed,” said Maridadi. “He (Obama) was like a person who stays here, in Highfield.”
In an angry outburst at a luncheon after officially opening the First Session of the Eighth Parliament in September last year, Mugabe accused Masimirembwa of demanding a $6 million bribe from Ghanaian businessman William Ato Essien.
Essien was a partner in Gye Nyame, a diamond mining company operating then in Chiadzwa in Marange.
Maridadi said the bluff was a serious embarrassment to Mugabe which also showed clearly that there was no political will to fight corruption in the country.
“That’s an indictment on the body politic of this country for a president to make that serious a climb down. I would have expected heads to roll over the misinformation or the Head of State himself should have resigned in shame . . . but worse, it shows that this country is being run by people who can’t run it,” Maridadi said.
In the past few years, several ministers in Mugabe’s Cabinet have been linked to corrupt land deals, road construction tenders, vehicle and maize procurement scandals.
Few of the cases were investigated, but results were never made public.
Speaking at his belated 90th birthday luncheon hosted by the Public Service Commission in Harare recently, Mugabe threatened to wield the axe on those involved in corruption.
Mugabe said some of his Cabinet ministers were demanding bribes from foreign investors to facilitate meetings with him.
“I was being told that there is this man who wants to invest, and was led to a lady in Parliament and this lady says; ‘Yes, yes I can take you to more important people, but give me $50 000, alright and I will open the door for you,’” Mugabe said.
“He went to another high placed minister and said; ‘I want to establish some company, take me to the President.’ ‘Yes, but give me $70 000.’”
He did not reveal the names of the minister and that of the investor.
In 2012, Mugabe said he had received complaints from former South African president Thabo Mbeki that ministers from his party were soliciting for bribes from South African investors looking to do business in Zimbabwe.
But up to now, no minister has been arrested over allegations of corruption.
Maridadi said Zimbabwe lacked leadership on dealing with graft.
“We are forced to think that Mugabe is doing nothing about it because is also benefiting,” Maridadi said. “Why is he not acting if he is not benefiting?”
Commentators said Mugabe must have started by firing his spokesperson George Charamba who pocketed thousands of dollars in allowances from Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), while ordinary contributors were being denied service.
Speaking at the same workshop, Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) group editor-in-chief Vincent Kahiya said politicians had failed to support the media in fighting corruption.
He noted that when The Standard first broke the story of suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere’s obscene salary in 2012, parliamentarians folded their hands and watched from the grandstands.
“Parliamentarians did nothing. They just stood and watched and did not even react when Muchechetere filed a lawsuit against us, but when the same matter was brought up by the Executive, there was hype as if they had heard it for the very first time,” Kahiya said.
He urged parliamentarians and the body politic to take newspaper reports seriously, investigate them and take appropriate action instead of making the fight against corruption an event with spectators.