9 February 2014

Zimbabwe: Mugabe Must Lead Corruption Fight

Photo: The Standard
President Robert Mugabe

Zimbabweans were told last week that President Robert Mugabe had been "angered" by the extent of the corruption and plunder of public funds through ridiculously high pay cheques and hefty allowances paid to top officials.

Only the gullible must have believed that Mugabe was not aware of the looting at public institutions. The case of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) workers, for example, was well-publicised.

Disgruntled employees who had gone for months without pay last year wrote letters to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Information detailing the looting at ZBC.

They exposed how Chief Executive Officer Happison Muchechetere and other top managers earned astronomical salaries while they wallowed in poverty. Muchechetere even tried to cover his tracks by suing this paper which carried stories about the looting at the state broadcaster.

It baffles the mind that Mugabe may have failed to hear about these accusations and reports about corrupt activities happening at other parastatals.

These reports prompted the inclusive government to push for a corporate governance framework, to stop the rot. Mugabe himself launched the drive which was spearheaded by former State Enterprises minister, Gorden Moyo.

There is no way Mugabe, who has a tight grip on all state institutions and receives detailed intelligence briefings, could have failed to know the malfeasance at parastatals which have bled the economy for a long time.

We discern an attempt to clean up Mugabe's image which has been soiled by the sordid details of corruption happening under the Zanu PF government's watch.

Mugabe should move out of this denial mode and own up, that corruption has spiralled out of control and drastic measure have to be adopted if society is to be rid of the culture of looting. He needs to show leadership by openly denouncing the plundering at the parastatals, naming and shaming the looters like he did in the case of Godwills Masimirembwa whom he accused of soliciting a US$6 million bribe.

Mugabe should also instruct Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri to investigate Masimirembwa and other officials accused of milking public bodies and PSMAS.


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