via Corruption: Let’s be ruthless like China 14/09/2014
FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said if the fight against corruption is to be successful, Zimbabwe must be prepared to be ruthless like China where no one is untouchable and top politicians and business executives have been jailed over graft.
Corruption is cited as one of Zimbabwe’s major problems but a government campaign this year which saw top executives at parastatals exposed for earning massive salaries while the companies teetered on the brink of collapse lost steam after it got caught up in Zanu PF’s succession fights.
Vice President Joice Mujuru attacked the anti-graft campaign claiming it was the work of infiltrators trying to destroy Zanu PF from within.
However, addressing a breakfast meeting in Harare last week, Chinamasa, who recently returned from China where he accompanied President Robert Mugabe to seek financial support for the economy, said Zimbabwe could learn from China’s ruthless methods.
Early this year Chinese President Xi Jinping described corruption as a “disease that calls for powerful drugs” and announced even stronger measures against graft which have seen top members of the Communist Party elite thrown into jail.
Said Chinamasa: “What l learnt from the Chinese basically is that they are a very efficient people and ruthless in achieving goals.
“l mean, they are ruthless, whether in terms of stamping out corruption, whether in removing deadwood in management, they are very ruthless and as a result their parastatals are among the top 500 companies worldwide.
“When we compare to ours it was very clear that when we come to parastatal reform, we have not scratched the surface; if we can have the ruthlessness that the Chinese have, the better.”
Chinamasa said Zimbabwe could also learn from the work ethic of the Chinese who, through sheer hard work, have seen their economy grow to become the second biggest in the world after the United States.
He said, unlike Zimbabweans, the Chinese were not an “8 to 5pm” people but they work until tasks are complete without even demanding extra in terms of overtime.
“In fact, their impatience when they come to some countries is that they can’t drive local labour with the speed and efficiency that they are used to in China,” he said.
Zimbabwe has in the past 15 years cultivated closer ties with China after Western governments imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his lieutenants for human rights violations and failure to uphold democracy.
But the Look-East policy has yielded very little in terms of rewards with critics saying Mugabe’s desperation has invariably opened up his mineral rich country to daylight plunder by the Chinese.
Chinamasa was however, adamant Harare has engaged Beijing on an equal footing in attempts to dispel assertions Zimbabwe had virtually turned into a Chinese colony.
The outspoken government official took issue with local journalists who have dismissed his so-called mega deals with the Chinese as “a pie in the sky”.
“What l expect, especially from business reporters, is constructive engagement,” he said, adding that he has remained very accessible to everybody who wished to seek clarification on Zimbabwe’s highly contentious Chinese dealings.
“So let’s not be abusive of each other. If you have any serious comment or advice, write it and we will consider it…but when you abuse you are just dispiriting, just discouraging information which does not do any good to the person saying it or to the country.”