Anti-graft fight: We need action not rhetoric

via Anti-graft fight: We need action not rhetoric March 21, 2014 by Stewart Chabwinja Zimbabwe Independent

LAST week President Robert Mugabe was at it again. He took advantage of a birthday luncheon hosted by his trusted security service chiefs and the Public Service Commission to once more fulminate against the scourge of corruption whose prevalence has shaken even those Zimbabweans who now regard it as an integral part of daily life.

Mugabe alleged a cabinet minister had demanded a bribe of US$70 000 while a female legislator (both unnamed) solicited a US$50 000 facilitation fee from a potential investor, as he vowed a crackdown against corruption — warning those implicated would face the wrath of the law.

Mugabe has been making a lot of noise about corrupt practices: the sensational public accusation last year that ZMDC chairperson Godwills Masimirembwa had demanded a USS$6-million bribe from Ghanaian partner in a diamond mining company, is a case in point, although he has since embarrassingly withdrawn the accusation.

At the 2012 Zanu PF conference, Mugabe slammed rampant corruption in the police and Zimra. He also fumed that former South African president Thabo Mbeki had informed him, and provided evidence, senior Zanu PF ministers had demanded a US$10 million bribe to facilitate a US$1 billion investment by ANC-linked investors.

“If I get information stating that so and so minister is doing this, he goes,” Mugabe ranted.

Needless to say, no minister has actually “gone” anywhere. So far none, in fact, has been fired in Mugabe’s 34-year rule except in the Willowgate case.

His repeated warnings against corruption have become an all-too-familiar refrain. The question is: just how many warnings does Mugabe need to issue before the culprits are brought to book? Does he feel repeated threats will suffice in curbing rampant graft? His frequent railings against corruption, which have failed to lead to action despite increasing media revelations of deep-seated malfeasance, are not helped by Mugabe’s poor governance record.

Zimbabwe’s history is replete with cases in which the corrupt have gone scot-free or with merely a slap on the wrist; the Willowgate scandal (1988), War Victims Compensation scandal (1994) and the VIP Housing scandal (1999), among others, readily come to mind.

This is why civil society groups last week dared Mugabe to put his money where his mouth is by naming, shaming and punishing cabinet ministers and other top officials implicated in corruption, instead of sounding like a broken gramophone record. Act he must, for the sake of his legacy and because, at 90, time is clearly not on his side as he fights to salvage his checkered record.

What complicates the anti-graft crusade for Mugabe is the prospect of acting against loyalists embedded in his patronage network on whom he has come to rely on for his prolonged stay in power. The same fawning clique which deifies him on public platforms, and hardly miss an opportunity to pledge unwavering loyalty to him, is corrupt.

It’s futile to hope that continued revelations of corruption and sleaze at state enterprises, councils, diamond mining companies and among his loyalists will finally force Mugabe to act. But then he must do something about corruption.


  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 9 years ago

    Those embedded crooks need not worry… no action is coming, and they know it. Mugabe would not chance exposing any, for fear of exposing all… including himself.

    But, to be candid, only the highly gullible, party faithful, and equally-guilty will ever contend that Mugabe and company are not guilty of siphoning billions that belongs to the people. The evidence is simply too much for a sensible mind to ignore, and the only “proof” that they are guiltless are their denials. But, those denials are equivalent to jungle law, and not to be questioned by those on the street.

    Enforcement comes at the hands of either the CIO or the racist ZANUPF thugs who seem to think Zim is at war. Retribution is in the form of cowardly attacks, rather than any civilized justice system. That’s ZANUPF… always has been, always will be.

    It wasn’t for freedom… it was nothing more than a bank heist.

  • comment-avatar
    Peter tosh 9 years ago

    Where the bomboclaat is Apolitical to comment? Say something you rasclaat!

  • comment-avatar
    Charles Chamunorwa 9 years ago

    Mugabe will never punish any cabinet minister because he got into power through corruption. The July 31 election was fraudalant.