Corruption: The buck stops with Mugabe


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ZIMBABWE – Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa at the weekend made a call for the government to introduce punitive sentences for corruption and his call may not have come at a better time. 

Too many government officials have been caught with their hands literally in the cookie jar and yet authorities only pay lip service to this.

We are not overly optimistic that Gandawa’s statement will change the Executive’s attitude, but we are happy that at least one of them is speaking out and we hope more like him will see the light.

The government is wont to complain about sanctions and Western interference, but nothing has damaged our standing more than corruption, yet we do nothing about it.

The media have always reported on corruption, but so much has been said and little done that we feel Zimbabweans are becoming numb to stories of graft and are looking aside.

If high-ranking officials such as Gandawa can make such statements, then there is a realisation that corruption is the cancer that is eating away at the core of our nation and if the government does not kill it off, Zimbabwe will soon be terminally ill and on its deathbed.

We feel what is lacking in the fight against corruption is political will and until President Robert Mugabe moves beyond rhetoric, then the fight against corruption will remain just talk.

Recently, the most striking example of Mugabe’s failure to act is the case involving his Health minister David Parirenyatwa, who has been accused of receiving a massive payout from the Premier Service Medical Aid Society yet that same institution is failing to pay its own doctors.

Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba has said a report has not been made to the President and he cannot act.

Now that doctors are on strike, we feel there is no need for Mugabe to wait for a report, but rather he must act now and decisively.

Mugabe also came face-to-face with corruption when he was angered by people residing on the verges of Harare International Airport, on land meant for expansion of the airport.

While Mugabe feigned anger at their being located there, it is obvious they were allocated that land by his senior government officials, who turned a blind eye to the fact that the land should have been meant for the airport expansion.

The President has ordered that the people should be removed, but we are not holding our breaths. We have heard such bombastic pronouncements before, but they have been met with little or no action at all.

Most Zimbabweans will remember how Mugabe lashed out publicly at former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairman Godwills Masimirembwa for allegedly trying to extort $6 million from Ghanaian investors.

The President also made a similar attack on unnamed ministers, who were accused of demanding bungs from South African firms that wanted to invest in Zimbabwe.

Yet nothing came from all those threats.

While statements from some ministers and legislators on corruption are encouraging, Mugabe is the ultimate authority and without his say-so, we are afraid all efforts at tackling corruption shall remain just empty rhetoric.

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