Editorial Comment: ED’s corruption talk: bark with no bite

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has assured anyone who cares to listen that he is sincere in his wish to eradicate, or at the very least fight, corruption.
His rhetoric has been heart-warming, but critics have been quick to point out that Mnangagwa is a master of double-speak typical of politicians to divert attention from bigger failures.

Editorial Comment

Our attention has been drawn to current goings-on at State House, where the director of State Residences Douglas Tapfuma has been fingered in a suspected vehicle smuggling ring, circumventing the country’s tax authorities using his proximity to the country’s first citizen. It is an indictment on Mnangagwa’s public claims that he is fighting graft. Now it appears that instead of firing Tapfuma and having him taken to court for criminal abuse of office, Mnangagwa has moved the disgraced State official to another department. It’s a crying shame!

Indeed, we would agree that Tapfuma remains innocent until proven guilty by a competent court of law, but a suspension would have been the least Mnangagwa could have done to allow for smooth investigations. Zimbabweans expect Mnangagwa as President to have every resource available, including investigating arms of the State ready to assist him to quickly ascertain whether Tapfuma is involved in the ring or not.

In fact, the same Tapfuma character has had his name mentioned in the Hwange Colliery saga in which another suspected dodgy character Shepherd Tundiya is said to have literally taken charge of the coal miner by invoking the President’s name and office. If Mnangagwa did not have a good reason to suspend or better still fire Tapfuma, then this is another one.

Moving Tapfuma to another government department only means Mnangagwa wants to protect his protégé and we would not be far off the mark to suspect that maybe the President is covering up for something we don’t know.

If what emerged at the Hwange Colliery parliamentary hearings is a sneak peak into how this country is run, then Zimbabwe is doomed. In a script that can make any Mafia movie producer turn green with envy, the wanton disregard of corporate ethics and shameless name-dropping are now the order of the day at the company under the watch of Mines minister Winston Chitando, who ultimately reports to Cabinet and Mnangagwa himself.

Mnangagwa is directly or indirectly presiding over a rotten administration, with scant regard for ethics or sound corporate governance. If this country were a bank, it would have been placed under curatorship by now.

It would appear the flurry of activity at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday which saw two former Cabinet ministers, Saviour Kasukuwere and Supa Mandiwanzira, former President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikowore and controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo facing different charges is just intended to be a diversion tactic, as insignificant convictions have come out from Mnangagwa’s so-called anti-corruption blitz.

Perhaps Mnangagwa needs to take a cue from his all-weather friend, Chinese President Xi Jinping on how that Asian country deals with corrupt public officials. Until he goes the Chinese route, Zimbabwe’s fight against corruption is just full of sound and fury, signifying nothing — in Shakespearen speak.