PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s anti-graft unit has failed to take off the ground after it emerged this week that people hired for various posts with the A
nti-Corruption Commission have not started work.
Thirteen people, among them five directors and six personal assistants, who were interviewed and passed a stringent vetting process in March are waiting to take up their posts.
Among the recruits are former civil servants and others from the private sector.
“We left our jobs some time in June when we received appointment letters but up to now we are roaming the streets,” one of the affected recruits said.
The group that would have formed the commission’s secretariat was supposed to start work on July 3.
“We were told to leave our jobs to take up new appointments. But when we go to the commission’s office in Strathaven, people there tried to avoid us,” one of those recruited told the Zimbabwe Independent on Tuesday this week. “You go there and no one seems to know what is happening. One is left to wonder whether the commission is functioning and people start wondering about the sincerity of the whole idea of setting up a commission as without a secretariat the body cannot work,” the recruit said.
The Anti-Corruption Commission was sworn in by President Mugabe in October last year to spearhead the battle against graft, blamed for worsening economic hardships.
Eric Harid, the former Comptroller and Auditor-General, heads the commission.
Other commissioners are Police Senior Assistant Commissioner, Casper Khumalo, Harare lawyer Johannes Tomana, Retired Brigadier Elasto Madzingira, Alice Nkomo, Bessie Nhandara, Juliet Machoba, Rungano Utaunashe and lawyer Luziwa Nyamwanza.
The situation of the recruits has become so desperate that “at one time the group contemplated taking the commission to court over the issue”.
One of the recruits who declined to be named but said he was representing colleagues facing the same predicament, bemoaned the delay. “Nobody thought it was going to get this far. People can’t pay their rentals or electricity bills because they are not being paid. Most of us have no other source of income.”
But yesterday Harid said the recruits had misunderstood the technicalities of the recruitment procedure.
“The letters they were given were appointment letters to assure them that they had secured jobs,” Harid said. “The procedure works in two parts. First there is appointment, followed by a notification of assumption of duty.”
He said the recruits asked for the letters so that they could be assured they had jobs.
“I have assured them that their jobs are secure. What is left is the final papers which are with the principal director in the ministry,” Harid said.
Anti-Corruption and Anti Monopolies minister, Paul Mangwana, yesterday said he was in the process of finalising the procedures so that those recruited can start work.
“As you are aware, this is a sensitive ministry and we have to make sure every appointment is done properly. We have to vet the recruits properly to ensure transparency,” Mangwana said.
“After going through the procedures thoroughly, we will call them to start work.”