Zimbabwe: U.S.$7bn Siphoned for Safekeeping, of Course

opinion

THIS week, it was alleged that Zimbabwe's leaders, past and present, had stashed at least US$7 billion outside the country. Said Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo: "Informally, we have now identified over US$7 billion worth of property and cash all over the world which were siphoned by our former leaders, current leaders, private sector and individuals. So this information we only got informally, so now we have to formalise the process so that we start the processes of repatriating the monies back home."

The commission, she said, is conducting "more accurate investigations" into this matter. Of course, as usual, none of this is based on any actual investigation. That would be too much work. Rumours are much easier.

We wonder what happened to the externalisation list at the start of 2018. Besides, we all know what the conclusion of any formal investigation into this so-called US$7 billion will find. It will obviously reveal that, in their usual diligent stewardship of the country's wealth, our leaders have been spiriting this money into bank accounts abroad in order to protect it on behalf of the people. They just took the nation's billions abroad for safekeeping.

We cannot risk those dirty Americans laying their grubby hands on our money. We trust our leaders to keep it for us.

Arrest threats

Still on the Zimbabwe Not-So-Anti-Corruption Commission, one of its commissioners, Gabriel Chaibva, came out to warn anyone making false allegations of corruption that they risk arrest.

"In the near future, there shall be a penalty for those that supply Zacc with false information," Chaibva was quoted as saying. "It is worrisome that Zacc is inundated with false corruption reports from politicians, businesspeople and other individuals. This then will force us to waste our resources in pursuance of the false leads."

Of course, this news surprises nobody. As everybody should know by now, in Mnangagwa's Zimbabwe, corruption is not illegal. What is illegal is reporting corruption.

The likes of Chaibva were employed to fight corruption for a reason. It was done for those still deluded into thinking Mnangagwa is serious about fighting theft. The best way to convince the naïve always is to employ a clown to do serious work. Anybody who takes you seriously after that is at fault.

Unscrupulous

How do you know that the economy is in trouble? When you start seeing words like "unscrupulous" in the lapdog press.

The ZBC, the country's favourite TV station which is also the country's only TV station, reported this week that the police had confiscated maize meal at various milling companies.

"The country has been experiencing an artificial shortage of mealie-meal amid revelations that unscrupulous and misguided elements are buying the commodity in bulk for resale on the parallel market at exorbitant prices," the nation's broadcaster informed the nation.

Those who have lived long enough, have seen this movie before. It has happened in cycles at various points in the 40-year history of Zanu PF's glorious rule.

Who can forget the food riots in 1998 in which eight people were shot dead after the military was unleashed to convince the masses that their hunger was imaginary? Nobody will forget the empty shelves of the 2000s, when the nation sacrificed the good life to defend the country from Bush and Blair.

In 2007, over 5 000 businesspeople were arrested when Obert Mpofu, then the Industry minister, declared war on inflation and, again, "unscrupulous and misguided elements" in the economy. So, these raids on businesses are not new. They are tried and tested.

According to the Zimbabwe Republic Police, officers raided milling companies and discovered 5 000 tonnes of maize meal which were "yet to be distributed to the market due to some reasons which are yet to be verified".

The nation is proud of such investigative work by police officers. It takes world-class investigative work to uncover maize-meal at a maize-meal factory.

But let Muckraker shut up about all this, lest one be left out of Cde Mthuli Ncube's mealie-meal database.

Mliswa rants

There is no shortage of cheap entertainment anytime Temba Mliswa opens his mouth.One day he is railing against some Chinese factory, the next he is frothing at a bank or some farmer or whatever. He has no shortage of targets. This week, bored, the man once again rustled up equally idle journalists to rant into their microphones.

This time, he had another list of people he claimed to be corrupt. Of course, it was a massive surprise to see his name missing from that list.

He then raged at what he called white capitalists in industry, saying "we must start a revolution to reclaim what is ours from the white monopoly".

We thought, Temba, you already did that when you took over that business from Paul Westwood? Or maybe it was not enough? But we all know the truth; when Temba holds a press conference, he is broke.

MDC and 'Excelgate'

Reports this week said the MDC will once again try its luck in court, after failing to convince the Constitutional Court that Nelson Chamisa won the 2018 election.

Headlines proclaiming that the MDC now had fresh evidence must have caused Justice Luke Malaba, driving to work in his luxury taxpayer-financed vehicle, to break into a sweat.

Then, of course, he got to the office and actually read the newspaper. It was at that point that Malaba spilled his tea and almost choked on his scones with laughter.

"We have now completed our sober and painstaking study of Excelgate," Chamisa's lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, was quoted as saying.

Well, one cannot doubt that Mpofu had a "painstaking" read of Jonathan Moyo's book. It is that hard to read. What one does doubt is the sober part.

You mean Mpofu and the MDC actually believe that the same Malaba who rejected evidence placed before him will now somehow change his mind because of an overhyped roadside pamphlet?

Do these people want to kill Malaba with a stroke? Please, the man is still too young. Who would be left to lead our world-renowned judiciary if the learned judge died of laughter?

One wonders what happened to the MDC's planned appeal to the African Union. We also do not need to ask what happened to all those GoFundMe appeals to fund the last court case. Anyone who dares ask is labelled a regime agent bent on derailing the people's struggle.

Army shops

The desperation by government to placate soldiers reached ridiculous levels this week. Those in the army have not been spared from the consequences of Mnangagwa's incompetence and misrule which has resulted in incomes being decimated by inflation.

Government this week announced it will set up subsidised grocery shops in army barracks to cushion the armed forces from the spiralling cost of living instead of addressing the economic crisis.

This paper has reported about the disillusionment among the rank and file of the security forces as a result of economic hardships and unfulfilled promises since the septuagenarian leader leapt to power on the back of guns and tanks.

Such impoverished thinking by those in the corridors of power shows why the country has become a laughing stock of the globe. By the way, what become of the so-called Silo shops to sell subsidised groceries to the masses? With a government like this, who needs enemies?

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