Not so long ago, President Robert Mugabe thumped a table in apparent fury at reports of festering corruption. But events in Zanu PF show that the party is not serious about corruption at all.

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By Conrad Nyamutata

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Mugabe being forced to deal with factionalism in his party. Picture: AFP
Robert Mugabe

If anything, corruption seems to be a benefit of patronage.

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There is little surprise to notice the shameful level of sycophancy among the party officials. You sing the praises and you are safe.

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Take for instance the slew of revelations against former vice president Joice Mujuru and her alleged accomplices, Didymus Mutasa and Ray Kaukonde among others in recent weeks.

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These allegations — yet to be proved — are only emerging because these people have fallen out with the party.

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Information minister Jonathan Moyo rejects that this is the motive behind the emerging revelations.

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Instead, Moyo lays blame on the media. It was a failure of investigative journalism he said.

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Moyo, who denied fleeing the liberation struggle last week without explaining his role, owes his political existence in Zanu PF to defending the party.

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He does so with almost purgatorial zeal in an attempt to redeem and also cleanse himself, having also been one of Mugabe’s most strident critics.

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The reason he would leave the world in stitches with a ridiculous explanation that the president had not fallen at the airport recently.

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Equally preposterous is his assertion about investigative journalism.

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How has this investigative instinct suddenly emerged, particularly within State media against particular persons such media have constantly attacked?

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I call it not investigative but vindictive journalism instead.

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In any case, why would a government serious about rooting out corruption, with an “angry” president bashing a table in apparent disgust, want to relinquish this duty to journalists?

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What Moyo implies is that if journalists do not find out about corruption in Zanu PF, then life goes on.

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Of course, the media have a duty to expose malfeasance.

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But to surrender the role of exposing corruption to the media shows a lack of proactive determination by the government itself.

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Moyo blames the media whose hands the government has tied through inhibitive laws, apart from failing to protect them.

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Investigative journalism, particularly for privately-owned media deemed as “enemies of the State”, is risky business under an authoritarian regime.

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If the taking of photographs of a tumbling president in broad daylight attracts fearsome orders to delete pictures, what hope does investigative journalism have?

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Furthermore, Zanu PF has never shown any appetite to punish persons exposed by the media. The Brainworks deal investigated assiduously by this paper is a case in point. The response was hostile, nay, contemptuous.

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In the end, it was some members of the anti-corruption commission who ended up in court instead.

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Zanu PF should not blame investigative journalism.

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The government has its own investigator in the Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri after all. She has churned out report after report about bureaucratic malpractice.

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Only last week, she issued adverse reports on 22 or 67 percent of ministries for poor corporate governance, abuse of fund accounts, flouting procurement procedures and so on.

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Now, that is a large number of ministries.

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Who is responsible for such large-scale malpractices? Who is benefiting? What happens to the culprits? How much has been lost?

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Chiri has been producing these reports for years.

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If total losses of what she exposes were quantified, the true source of our economic problems would be revealed to lie within rather than beyond the shores of this country as many have already known.

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Instead of blaming sanctions and the paucity of investigative journalism, the challenge for the Zanu PF government is to first quantify the losses from the exposed bureaucratic malfeasance, tell us what has been or will be done about these revelations.

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Zanu PF official after official has proclaimed that the so-called ZimAsset project would not succeed with corruption.

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Well, instead of waiting for investigative journalists to expose corruption, government should start with revelations by it’s “own” investigator if it is serious about dealing with corruption as it claims. Daily News