19 September 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Widens Corruption Probe

Photo: Fikile
Zimbabwe Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai

THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) is widening its corruption probe to other local authorities as well as to all officials holding public office after a report on the initial investigations launched in March unearthed shocking details of graft by councillors.

Sesel Zvidzai, the party's secretary for local government and Deputy Minister for Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, told The Financial Gazette this week that another team has been set up to probe 12 more local authorities.

"The anti-corruption crusade continues as we have set up another probe team to go into 12 different directions so that we root out corrupt officials . . . any rotten apples deserve to be thrown out of the basket," said Zvidzai.

He said MDC-T will not stop at local authorities only but would seek to kick out all corrupt public officials from its ranks.

This comes amid concerns that the anti-corruption fight was limited to "small fish" only while those in higher offices such as ministers and their deputies were being protected.

The MDC-T's first corruption probe netted perceived "small fish" among them mayor of Gweru, Tedius Chimombe, the deputy mayor of Harare, Emmanuel Chiroto, and Bindura deputy mayor, Ivory Matanhire who were all fired from the party along with nine other councillors.

The party's investigating commission however, commended Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and Gokwe councils for "remaining steadfast and resolute to party values."

The MDC-T has said the probe is part of its "systematic and proactive programmes to continuously monitor service delivery, accountability to residents and good corporate governance."

Massive corruption was unearthed in Chitungwiza, Bindura, Chegutu and Harare.

In 2010, the party expelled all 23 councillors in Chitungwiza after they were accused of corrupt practices.

MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvan-girai last month indicated that the campaign against corruption wou-ld be extended to incl-ude ministers and legislators.

"The probe is a continuous probe. Our executive (and) our council will make a recommendation, the standing committee will make an evaluation of what needs to be probed . . .We don't just look at a particular area. We look at the whole party and how it affects the integrity of the party. So it's not just councillors the MPs with the CDF (Constituency Development Fund) we will be looking at them," Tsvangirai told reporters at the time.

But critics say it is too little too late for the MDC-T to deal with corruption nearly five years after its officials were accused of graft.

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