Johannesburg — Zimbabweans in the Diaspora doubt the sincerity of pledges by the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to revive the rule of law as properties grabbed from mostly white owners remain in the hands of looters.
The Zimbabweans thus expressed worry this was deterring investors from contributing to the resuscitation of the economy.
Among other concerns raised include land grabbed during the past two decades as well as properties and companies remaining in the hands of ruling party officials and cronies.
Former president, Robert Mugabe, is among multiple farm owners. It is alleged he has over 20 farms, despite his administration arguing the land grabs were to redistribute land to the landless poor.
"As long no such well known plunderers, fraudsters and looters within ZANU-PF are convicted, President Mnangagwa's otherwise enticing message to lure investment would be futile," said South Africa based entrepreneur Mike Mawere.
"Those arrested must be convicted to set the record straight that the new dispensation is fighting crime and corruption. Home is the best, but once again, one is scared to invest in dangerous waters infested with crocodiles ready to pounce on their victims," Mawere said.
Lameck Nhekairo, another Zimbabwean based in Cape Town (South Africa), alleged Mnangagwa's regime was protecting so-called 'comrades' at the expense of the majority of more than 16 million.
"So far, we have not witnessed any corrupt culprits, including present and past ministers, being convicted. They get arrested today, but tomorrow they are released. Investors closely follow all these developments hence there is no trust in president Mnangagwa's 'Zimbabwe is open for business' mantra," Nhekairo said.
He cited well documented court cases of Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) chairman, Phillip Chiyangwa, who is alleged to have acquired vast residential and commercial stands amassing 400 000 hectares of land.
"When is the land audit going to take place? The likes of (former minister Ignatius) Chombo have been arrested, but is the evidence not enough to lock up such culprits in order to send correct message of fighting crime and corruption," Nhekairo queried.
Mehluli Mlotshwa, based in Pretoria (South Africa), said land and properties in Bulawayo, Nyamandlovu and Victoria Falls belonged to senior ZANU-PF officials but claimed Mnangagwa's government had not taken action.
"Worse still, these well known culprits are not creating employment, instead, everything they touch (grab) always collapse leaving millions out of jobs," Mlotshwa said.
Present and past government officials are accused of looting from state owned entities such as NetOne, TelOne, Telecel, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, Air Zimbabwe, diamonds from Marange (Manicaland), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZIMARA) and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
Mlotshwa called for the establishment of a commission to probe the officials.
"Just like President Mnangagwa did with the commission of inquiry when the soldiers shot six protesters dead after poll protests, he should do the same to investigate the plunder of our economy," he said.
Mlotshwa said without government jailing the culprits, the Diaspora would not invest back home.
A Zimbabwean who only identified himself as Muchineripi (Durban) alleged retired military generals were buying properties in South Africa through their ill-gotten wealth.
"These corrupt ZANU-PF economic plunderers loot Zimbabwe's resources and buy expensive houses in foreign lands. Instead of investing at their own homeland, the foolish part is that they use stolen resources to create jobs elsewhere outside the country," Muchineripi bemoaned.
He said if Mnangagwa was sincere, he must ensure culprits are prosecuted.
Muchineripi said otherwise the government would continue blaming sanctions imposed by Western governments.
"The sanctions that are wreaking economic havoc in Zimbabwe is corruption," he said.
Another Zimbabwean said, "Commercial farms are in the hands of a few elite, who have no capacity to utilise it, but use the stolen land for speculative purposes at the expense of those that wanting to produce food for the entire nation and region (southern Africa)."
The Zimbabweans in the Diaspora were responding to current shortages of fuel and foreign currency, which they blamed on corruption.
There was no immediate comment from the Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria.