BY VENERANDA LANGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed that he fired the previous Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chaired by Job Wabira because the commissioners were corrupt.
Mnangagwa said this on Friday last week during a no-holds barred anti-corruption event organised by the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC), in conjunction with Zacc and the Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z) to commemorate the Anti-Corruption Day symposium.
“Corruption did not begin in Zimbabwe. Even during the time of Jesus, corruption was there and they fought it, and so we will also continue fighting corruption,” he said.
“I dismantled the previous Zacc because the public did not have confidence any more in that commission because it was a corrupt commission and how could they have dealt with corruption when they were corrupt themselves?
“I then created a new commission and at the helm is a lady, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, who has a good history with a strict background in terms of administration, is a former judge and a no-nonsense person and so we now have a commission that can fight corruption.”
He did not say why the “corrupt” commissioners were still walking free.
But APNAC chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga told Mnangagwa that even if he had changed commissioners, the staff employed by the previous commission was still at Zacc.
APNAC secretary-general Tatenda Mavetera then played Mnangagwa a satirical video circulating on social media which depicted government taking a “catch and release” stance towards bigwigs alleged to be involved in corruption crimes.
The video sent Mnangagwa into stitches as it showed a President ordering his subordinates to write down names of all corrupt people to be arrested for graft, except his name and the first lady’s.
He was then grilled on issues of corruption by youthful business executives Munenyasha Hove, managing director of Hollard Logistics, Rumbidzai Muzite, the director of Brand Advocate, and Domingo Samu, a chief executive officer of a security company.
The young businesspersons raised issues of corruption in the transport sector and services sector like the passport offices.
“There are cameras at the Registrar-General’s Offices, but a lot of bribes take place in closed doors and Zimbabweans are denied rights to passports. Land ownership must be a basic right and each family must have a stand, but people are asked to pay bribes in order to get land,” Muzite said.
“Health is also a basic right, but people who do not have connections at hospitals are dying because they cannot access treatment. People fail to get blood at hospitals after being told that it is in short supply, but when those who are connected come to get it, they only spend 10 minutes and they are treated. Medicines are also stolen from hospitals and sold on the streets.”
Mavetera said there was massive corruption at Zesa, where transformers were being stolen, while the country is experiencing electricity shortages.
Mnangagwa said he should, instead, be congratulated for solving the land corruption issues in the country.
“You should congratulate us because as soon as we took over, we set up the Urban Land Commission and a lot of things have been happening. We now know who the land barons are and the bigwigs in government and the private sector that are involved. We must now use legislation to deal with the culprits,” he said.
“The video by Mavetera was interesting. However, we must let Zacc investigate first and when there is a prima facie case, arrests must be made. We have no authority to say to magistrates that one person is guilty and the other is not. It is true that people are arrested and let go and I am very angry with that. You see a person taken to court and they are granted bail and then the case is postponed and postponed.”
Mnangagwa said there were corruption cases that came to the courts and surprisingly, the prosecution then promotes the weakest point and the entire case is lost.
“So there are weaknesses, but my administration will continue to tighten and tighten, and those with sins will continue kuunyana (to shrink),” he said.