Fight against corruption should be a genuine one

EDITORIAL COMMENT

THAT corruption must be condemned in all its various forms and manifestations, regardless of who is involved, is not in doubt.

From that perspective, citizens will no doubt agree with the Zanu PF youth league, which seems to be well focused, in their campaign to expose graft among the ruling party chefs.

The naming and shaming of corrupt party heavyweights is, of course, in order if the individuals are found to be in the wrong.

We are aware that Zimbabweans have always complained against corruption at the highest offices, but Zanu PF refused to join all and sundry. We hope that since they have now rediscovered the light with regards to dealing with this scourge, the fight is not going to be self-serving, political or meant to tarnish or soil some among them with a good standing in society, just for power.

Citizens are not interested in power games — the Zanu PF succession politics always. No. The fight should be a genuine one, and for it to be so, this should not be owned by Zanu PF alone, but by every citizen across the political divide.

Indeed, we agree with Zanu PF deputy youth secretary, Lewis Matutu, on corruption. What we do not agree with, though, is the approach that the party’s youth league is using to deal with the problem. Corruption is not only a Zanu PF thing that should be dealt with at party level. The country has sufficient structures and legal instruments to pursue that campaign. Those found to be corrupt should be handed over to the relevant authorities so they are dealt with within the confines of the law.

We are alive to the fact that the land reform programme that began in 2000, to correct land ownership imbalances in the country, was fraught with corruption such that some powerful politicians ended up with many farms, in direct violation of the doctrine of one man, one farm. This problem cannot be rectified by having Zanu PF youths reclaiming those extra farms and redistributing them among themselves. That is another form of corruption. Such farms must be taken over by the State and proper procedures for redistribution must be observed.

Matutu’s sentiments that they feared no one and will gladly take the “war” to anyone who holds multiple farms should be taken seriously. They may point to yet another “revolution” that will not only destabilise Zanu PF, but is also likely to have far-reaching national consequences.

Land should not be given to people on the basis that they are young. In fact, a serious blunder was made in 2000 when land was just given to people because they were war veterans, or Zanu PF apparatchiks, government ministers and associates. Many of the farms that have been stripped bare and had their productivity capacity destroyed are proof of the fallacy of giving land to people who have no expertise in farming.

The distribution of land — which has serious implications on national food security — has largely been done to rub people’s egos as they boast of having farms, but with nothing to show for it. It would have been laughable, if it was not tragic, that a country with so much land and promise as Zimbabwe imports tooth picks and match sticks.

If youths are going to be given land, there has to be proof of their productive capacity, otherwise we will just sit by and watch tragic history repeating itself. This must not be allowed for a second time.