Mugabe's bark worse than his bite?

Zimbabwe-The President threatened to dismiss any such ministers if they should be found guilty of corruption.

We all have heard similar threats from the same man numerous times before, but we know of no minister that has ever been dismissed from his position by Mugabe because of corruption. The President went on to identify the police in Zimbabwe as among the most corrupt officers in his government. He lambasted them for making motorists pay huge sums of money even when their vehicles have no faults.

It is highly doubtful that Mugabe will fire any of his corrupt ministers. Indeed, his bark is much worse than his bite. It can even be said he has no bite at all when it comes to issues of corrupt ministers. In countries that are governed properly, the logical action to take after identifying the police as corrupt would be to dismiss the Commissioner-General.

Not so in this country. Rather, Mugabe is very likely to renew Chihuri’s contract when next it expires, despite widespread corruption in the force. In a normal democratic country, once the President has named the police force as corrupt, the head of the force would tender his or her resignation. That is probably the furthest thought from good old Chihuri’s mind right now.

Why then is Mugabe powerless to discipline his corrupt ministers? Perhaps he is of such advanced age that he has already forgotten what he said at the Gweru Conference. He no longer has the capacity to follow up on his threats. It may also be that most of these corrupt ministers of his know too much about the President’s own can of worms, and are likely to expose him should he carry out his threats against them. The third possible reason may be that Mugabe is petrified of ending up standing alone.

Indeed, almost every Zanu (PF) minister is quite likely to be found guilty of gross levels of corruption. Transparency International has just published its 2012 Corruption Perception Index, which places Zimbabwe at number 163 out of the 175 countries surveyed. This is happening during Mugabe’s watch. It is a serious indictment.

Had Mugabe been serious about fighting corruption in his party, he would have appointed an investigative committee to immediately do the job and report to him. We all know that he did not take any such action. It is quite likely that he would have struggled to identify any “clean” members of his party to appoint to such a committee. Besides, whoever he would appoint would run the risk of being buried at Heroes’ Acre prematurely after being done in by those he sought to investigate.

Most people are quite willing to engage in a fierce debate about democracy, human rights and the constitution, but when you touch their corruption, they descend on you with a sledge-hammer. Perhaps Mugabe is well aware of this – and did not want to endanger any of his faithful followers? We wait to see whether he will follow up on his threats made in Gweru. –

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