The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Corrupt Ministers Face Axe - President

PRESIDENT Mugabe says he will fire corrupt ministers if he is alerted to their underhand dealings and challenged Zimbabweans to expose such culprits.

President Mugabe, who is President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF, bemoaned rampant corruption in the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and warned that such behaviour should stop forthwith.

Officially opening the 13th Zanu-PF Annual National Peoples Conference here yesterday, the President said some ministers were demanding bribes from prospective investors using his name.

"Be disciplined. Do not try to deceive. There is a lot of indiscipline taking place.

"I was getting complaints even kunze from former South African president Thabo Mbeki who said some of our ANC people who come (to Zimbabwe) trying to do business, have been told, if you want to do business you should give us US$1 million. No, it is now US$5 million. We will take some of the money to President Mugabe, zvekundinyepera."

Added the President: "That is corruption. If I get information that minister So-and-So is doing that, you go immediately.

"Unfortunately, vamwe vanenge vasingadi kutaura mazita."

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said because of fear, some people were not willing to name the culprits.

He said refusal to disclose the culprits worsened the situation.President Mugabe slammed rampant corruption in the ZRP and Zimra at border posts.

"Mapurisa, mapurisa, mapurisa. We want you to be straightforward people. You are representatives not only of Government, but of the people as a whole," he said.

"If you want to be paid to do your job, then you are practising corruption and you cannot boast of having a well-disciplined police."

Police, said the President, were stopping motorists on the roads and demanding bribes.

"Kumisa vanhu mumigwagwa. Mota yako haina mabreaks haungaende mberi kana uchida, bhadhara US$200 woenda," he said. President Mugabe said in the majority of cases, the vehicles would not be defective as alleged by the traffic police officers.

He said in the case where the car was genuinely defective, it did not help to allow the vehicle to proceed.

President Mugabe castigated Zimra for engaging in corruption, especially at border posts where cross border traders, mainly women fending for their families, were made to give bribes.

He condemned indiscipline by some Zanu-PF officials who engaged in vote-buying, saying such behaviour was tantamount to corruption.

"So, we want discipline in the party. We do not accept that your membership of the party or your being elected to a post should depend on how much you pay to supporters," said President Mugabe.

"Kubhadhara mari kuti vanhu vakuvhotere, kwete."

The President said while there was nothing wrong with those in positions of authority helping the disadvantaged, there was everything wrong when such authority was used to corrupt people.

He said Zanu-PF should be a clean party and reminded delegates that pioneers of the struggle for independence did not demand payment from anyone to liberate the country from the British colonial yoke.

"It was just commitment," President Mugabe said.

President Mugabe castigated the MDC formations for their inferiority complex and belief that the country can not develop without the assistance of whites.

He said this sense of inferiority was the reason Zanu-PF differed with their partners in the inclusive Government on the indigenisation and empowerment programme.

"That is the point we do not agree with our partners in the inclusive Government, vamwe vedu vachiri mupolitics hameno kuti ndedze nguva ipi, kukudza murungu zvakadaro, kuti hatingakwanise kuita chinhu pasina murungu. Kukudza murungu kunge Mwari. To worship a whiteman like God," he said

"Let us be our own masters, our very true owners and true developers of our resources. Those who want to do business are free to come, even to our Chinese friends we say you don't just come, you have to respect our rules."

He rubbished claims that foreign capital was the panacea to solving the country's problems.

"That capital is greater than any other factor is absolute nonsense," said President Mugabe.

"That is what is used to deprive people of their resources...yes bring your own capital we will reward you. We need business, but the land is ours, we do not say use your tractor for nothing or use your technology for nothing.

"But you cannot say because we are owners of capital, we are now owners of the resources. This is what they do to poor countries with oil. They say because we bring the machinery to drill the oil you get 10 percent (of the proceeds)....ndozvatirikuramba. That's theft, that's criminal, that's robbery.

"If you do that you are not a good custodian of those resources for your people, you cannot be president. They (foreign companies) should not say because of their ability to dig they own our resources, that philosophy is dirty, it is filthy, it is criminal."

President Mugabe said Government was now considering preserving the mining sector for Zimbabweans.

"I have told the Minister of Mines and Mining development that we have had enough of this 51 percent/49 percent ownership structure, lets us just go at it on our own," he said.

"We have miners, geologists, engineers like vana J B Matiza (who worked with designers of the conference centre) let us dig on our own."

President Mugabe castigated foreign companies holding mining claims for speculative purposes and said if multinational companies operating in the country were not comfortable with the indigenisation policies they were free to leave and locals would take over.

Turning to regional neighbours, the President said it was necessary that the countries craft business linkages that brought mutual benefits.

"To our neighbours, we can agree (business deals) on reciprocal basis, our companies do business in South Africa and they do business in Zimbabwe, on a 50-50 basis," he said.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe would not accept situations where companies from the region benefited from the country's resources, yet local companies were prevented from entering their markets.

He urged local companies venturing into foreign countries to always create partnerships with local people in those countries to ensure cordial working relations.

The Zanu-PF conference is being held under the theme Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment.

Thousands of delegates are attending the conference at the newly built state-of-the-art convention centre 10km outside Gweru.

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