President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday his government will exercise zero tolerance to corruption, urging the law to take “unimpeded course” on former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation board chairman Godwills Masimirembwa, who he accused of demanding and receiving a US$6 million bribe from a Ghanaian firm that sought to invest in diamond mining at Chiadzwa.
By the MuckRaker
And when it comes to probing Zanu PF officials the police seem to wait for Mugabe’s go ahead such as when he ordered police to investigate five Zanu PF Manicaland provincial executives including Mike Madiro who were facing fraud allegations.
In January we wrote that when the matter was initially reported to the police, acting Commissioner-General Levi Sibanda wrote to Vice-President Joice Mujuru, then acting president, seeking advice on what action to take since the issue involved top party officials.
And much like in the Madiro instance, the police only started making noises after Mugabe had indicted Masimirembwa. The Herald, the official mouthpiece, quotes a senior officer confirming the matter was under investigation.
Horse already bolted
Meanwhile Mugabe said such rot cannot be tolerated “under his watch”. That horse bolted a long time ago Mr President!
If Mugabe was serious about accountability in government he would have probed the likes of Ignatius Chombo after the revelations of his messy divorce showed that much of his vast wealth was accumulated after he became a government minister.
And what did Mugabe do after former South African president Thabo Mbeki provided him with evidence senior Zanu PF ministers had demanded a US$10 million bribe to facilitate a US$1 billion investment by African National Congress-linked investors?
Mugabe should walk the talk.Supa’s not so super
Supa Mandiwanzira got off to a poor start at the swearing-in ceremony at State House last week when he told ZTV that “pirate” radio stations should be suppressed.
Since when have they been “pirate” stations? They are Zimbabweans who did everything within the law to set up shop here in 2000 before being raided.
Sadc spokesman Bernard Membe used much the same language when he presented Sadc’s interim report.
What Mandiwanzira, who owns a radio station after getting a broadcasting licence controversially, and Membe don’t appear to understand is that so long as Zimbabwe has a partisan and second-rate broadcasting system, the public will want a professional service which provides accurate and informed reporting.
Indeed, it is Mandiwanzira and Membe’s duty to provide diversity and professionalism in broadcasting in their respective homelands, not parrot what their bosses say.
We particularly expect better from a former journalist.
The dross is back
We should have less diatribes from Tafataona Mahoso and his witless colleagues and more informative content.
It was disheartening to see Mahoso and his friends returning to our screens after the election.
The apostles of phoney nationalism –– everything that is wrong about broadcasting in this country –– are back and we now have to face another five years of it.
It is encouraging, however, to see the multitude of satellite receivers even at Matapi flats in Mbare as viewers desert ZTV in their droves.
Made’s grand return
ZTV’s coverage of people endlessly “welcoming” ministers back to their posts or “hailing” them provided a good example of parroting the official line. There was for instance a front-page picture of Joseph Made with the heading “All set for summer cropping”.
Now we all know about Made’s crop forecasts! Did anybody mention helicopter crop surveys?
On a related note, the Herald has been patting government on the back for importing grain from Zambia to feed people in drought-hit areas “in fulfillment of the party’s (Zanu PF) election promise that no one will starve”.
The programme had been sabotaged, the Herald claims, by former Finance minister Tendai Biti who stopped it citing financial challenges when only less than a quarter of the grain had been delivered.
It is curious how Zanu PF mandarins always find a scapegoat for their handlers’ failures. We are keen to know from the Herald who sabotaged our own agricultural sector that we now have to rely on the Zambians for our food security.
That some of the farmers who have ensured Zambia is now a grain exporter are formerly Zimbabwean always seems to escape the notice of the apologists at Herald House.
Hit the ground running
It was interesting to hear the president giving his views on the criteria he uses when appointing ministers. As you would expect, party loyalty plays a key part in the process as does regional balancing.
But what appears to be missing is expertise. How many ministers are good at their jobs, and how many are dedicated to public service?
If it is any consolation, South African ministers are just as bad booking their seats on the gravy train and handing contracts to friends and relatives.
One minister getting off to a flying start was Saviour Kasukuwere. Joined by ministers Walter Mzembi and Jonathan Moyo, he flew by helicopter to Hwange National Park to see the remains of 41 elephants killed by cyanide poisoning.
It was a harrowing scene, no doubt beamed around the world, and Kasukuwere will have wide public support in dealing severely with poachers.
Mzembi called for the isolation of affected areas and neutralisation of cyanide which he said requires a generation to biodegrade. This is a worrying situation.
The elephants were killed last month by six poachers who have subsequently been caught.
Kasukuwere by the way claims he has not been demoted but given greater responsibilities. We wish him every success in the new post.
Moyo clearly looks eager to get back in the fray after eight years in the wilderness. We can only hope his energies will be expended on the public good.
Patronage writ large
Meanwhile, on the energy front, the power cuts have intensified just as Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire gets to grips with the Energy and Power Development ministry.
Mavhaire, who confessed to having been appointed as a reward for Masvingo’s electoral victory, needs to be pragmatic with this delicate ministry and not pander to Zanu PF’s populist inclinations.
At least former minister Elton Mangoma laid the groundwork for him.
Zanu PF pet project
Of all the dubious outfits Zanu PF conjures up, Kissnot Mukwazhe and the Zimbabwe Development Party (ZDP) take the cake. The ZDP is testament to the contempt with which Zanu PF holds the hapless electorate.
Last year Mukwazhe sent a lengthy but typo-ridden letter asking President Jacob Zuma to “help us to stop gossiping (and) cooking up stories about each other”.
“This is not a call for interference to our home affair, but a call to help your needy small brother Zimbabwe to be economically, political and socially stabilise,” Mukwazhe asserted.
“We don’t want in strongest terms bombs to enhance (sic) power transfer.”
This time around Mukwazhe has written a petition to the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon demanding the immediate lifting of “illegal” sanctions.
In the petition Mukwazhe claims Mugabe’s government “has made huge strides in upholding fundamental freedoms and rights in the last decade”.
We don’t know where Mukwazhe was in 2008. Thankfully the rest of the world knows better.