Ballooned salaries exposé assumes political sub-plot

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A POLITICAL sub-plot has emerged in the salary scandal which involves senior executives in parastatals and quasi-state enterprises, amid growing protests by some senior Zanu PF members that the issue has assumed a factional and succession dimension.

By Faith Zaba

In private briefings with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, senior Zanu PF officials said while it is good to expose corruption at parastatals and quasi-state enterprises, there are deep suspicions and fears that only those aligned to Vice-President Joice Mujuru are being targeted.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) salary scam seems to be mainly exposing the incompetence and excesses of former Information minister Webster Shamu and its suspended chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere, both of whom are said to be aligned to Mujuru.

The ZBC boss was earning a basic monthly salary of more than US$27 000 in addition to monthly allowances for housing at US$3 500 per month, US$2 500 in domestic workers’ wages, US$3 000 for entertainment and a general allowance of US$3 000. He was raking in about US$40 000 per month, excluding fuel and other benefits, while workers at the insolvent broadcaster went unpaid for seven months.

The same fears or suspicions are also rife at the Public Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) where retired CEO Cuthbert Dube, who was also chairing the recently dissolved ZBC board, was getting a basic salary of US$230 000 per month which rose to over US$500 000 including benefits.

Senior party officials believe Dube was also being targeted because of his close links to Mujuru. It is said Dube was very close to the former Zimbabwe National Army commander, Retired General Solomon Mujuru, who died in a mysterious inferno at his Beatrice farm in August 2011.

The Mujuru faction members claim the salary scandal disclosures are being used to target their camp while sparing those linked to the faction led by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Although President Robert Mugabe has expressed outrage at the salaries scandal in high-level meetings with his cabinet over the issue, this has not stopped the two main factions from pointing fingers at each other on the matter.

The only other ministers that have spoken out are Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who promised that there would be no cover-up on the issue and Mnangagwa, who told parliament this week that corrupt individuals would be dealt with in accordance with the dictates of the law.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said this week his party did not condone corruption and would deal decisively with the scourge.

Gumbo said the “intricate” issue needed a comprehensive plan and policy to deal with it.

“Those involved in corrupt activities must and will face the full wrath of the law and we are determined to make this a reality. For our part and for the avoidance of any doubt, we wish to make it known that we will take decisive measures to eradicate corruption in all forms.”

Gumbo added: “We would also like to thank the media, both public and private, for their concerted efforts in bringing this shameful situation to public light.”

Some senior Zanu PF officials concurred with Gumbo saying there was need for a policy on corruption and for the party to identify an effective system to deal with corruption.

“If it (the anti-corruption fight) is done in a haphazard manner as is being done now, it can be hijacked for political reasons,” said one politburo member.

However, other senior party officials say while the exposé on corrupt executives was desirable, it should not be used for cheap politics.

“Corruption is bad. Those who are corrupt must be exposéd, but it must not be used to target certain individuals in the party because they have different views from others,” said a top Zanu PF official.

“What we are seeing is no longer an anti-corruption campaign, but a factional crusade. If it is allowed to continue, it will end up doing more damage to the party and remember 2018 is not too far. If this continues and is mishandled, then it will help revive the MDC. We have noticed that there is a pattern of targeting some people for political reasons.”

The sources said generally, cabinet ministers who have discussed the issue in their factional meetings are uncomfortable with the way things are being done.
Mujuru all but confirmed that her faction is viewing the corruption revelations as being connected to Mugabe’s succession when she said detractors were behind the ongoing exposures.

Mujuru was addressing a provincial women’s conference at the weekend when she suggested that those leaking details about corruption at parastatals are Zanu PF people bent on destroying government and the party from within.

She suggested that the media campaign was part of a crusade by enemies within Zanu PF working for the downfall of the party.

Her statement torched a political storm over her utterances with a group aligned to Mnangagwa saying: “She has shown that she is not a leader. It is all over the radio, I can’t believe she said that.

“This is why some of us believe she can’t be the next leader for Zimbabwe. I don’t think that she can replace President Mugabe.

However, retired Brigadier-General Benjamin Mabenge says Mujuru’s presidential credentials should not be judged from her statement.

“There are many indicators which show what she raised is true. There is more to this saga or these exposures,” he said. “What do you think happens when God and Satan collide? The result is total chaos.

Mabenge, who fell out with Mnangagwa in 2005 when he contested against him in the party primaries, believes Moyo is behind the media campaign targeted at Mujuru’s allies.

He accused Moyo of working with a small group in the party to discredit Mujuru and her allies ahead of the 2014 elective congress in December.

Mabenge, however, refused to disclose the other members of Moyo’s camp, preferring to say “the group is so small that it cannot match the number of cabinet ministers”.

“The whole purpose of this attack is to create such tension as to induce mutinous riots as a way of marching to State House. I just hope the party leadership sees through this and finds a solution, no matter how harsh it would be,” he said. “What he is trying to do is to incite a coup. But all I can say is that there is no chance of anybody in the military coming on board. It is common knowledge that we have the most professional military force.”

Mabenge added: “It is not right that within the party, there should be these sentiments we are currently witnessing. What happens in Zanu PF will have far-reaching effects on the political culture which will guide Zimbabwe tomorrow.

“It is also unfortunate that our people do not seem to appreciate the conspiracies. To ring-fence the press with razor wire is not a reflection of good governance at all and it cannot be condoned by anybody.”

He accused Moyo of abusing his office by allegedly using the media to target Mujuru, who is the most senior party member among those tipped to succeed Mugabe.
Mabenge urged the public and private media not to allow themselves to be used by people whom he described as “opportunists trying to leap-frog others into State House”.

“Which investor will come to Zimbabwe if the country is full of thieves that are never brought to book? Moyo wants the whole country to panic and make them believe that he is building the country,” he said. “There is a heavy undercurrent of a diabolic hunger for power within Zanu PF among people that want to take a shortcut by declaring that seniority does not matter.”

However, another senior party official said there was no such conspiracy.

“That is a very poor line. In the first place, these things did happen and no one is creating them. This is about fighting corruption and not about factionalism or succession,” said the official.

Apart from Muchechetere and Dube, there is speculation that some of the people being targeted include Shamu, Labour minister Nicholas Goche through Air Zimbabwe which was rocked by an insurance scam by senior managers and Navistar Insurance Brokers who allegedly looted more than US$10 million over five years from the national airline and former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono.

In response, Moyo insisted ridding the country of the scourge of corruption should be done in the national interest above all other considerations.

“The allegations you are putting to me are coming from someone who was part of the ZBC board that I dismissed on 14 November 2013. That, I suppose, establishes the context and perspectives of his claims,” he said.

“Otherwise I have no problem whatsoever appreciating the important fact that in our constitutional democracy everyone is entitled to their opinion even if it is hot air.

“The bottom line though is that there can be no reason or excuse for corruption, therefore, none will be accepted to justify the looting of assets and abuse of funds at ZBC or at any other parastatal, regardless of the position or history of the person making the justification,” Moyo said, adding that his ministry does its job without fear or favour.

14 thoughts on “Ballooned salaries exposé assumes political sub-plot”

  1. Tonidread says:

    Oh ok so all parastatals and affected city councils were or are made up of Mujuru affiliates????How much were you paid for this Faith,no guess for which supposed faction paid you.Stop trying to divert attention from the real issue of corruption,you are not doing your paper any favours in terms of marketing,i will stop buying the paper because of such reporting like i have done with some papers who practise such pathetic reporting.Stop singing for your super period.What proof do you have that it has taken a political “sub-plot”?The only tangible proof that is there which many concerned Zimbabweans care about are the obscerne salaries and benefits theses corrupt “Mujuru” alligned officials(as you suggest) granted themselves.Suggestions or opinions by these so called Senior Zanu PF officials is no evidence at all,they are trying to cover their backs coz the anti-corruption tsunami is at their doorstep,and as i see it you are trying to help their cause.All i am saying is don’t give them the platform to dispute the anti-corruption drive coz all the evidence is there,they are trying to confuse the public period.

    1. Mukanya says:

      Spot on Tonidread,

  2. Musona says:

    People worship politicians who lie to them. To me the salary scandals are small beer compared to the 33-year old lie which is causing these scandals to go unpunished – the lie that ZanuPF “liberated the country” when it was our votes which got Zanu into power in 1980 after Muzorewa had been the first prime minister. After we voted Zanu into power, instead of thanking us, they turned around and told everyone it was Zanu who had “liberated them”. People had just ditched Muzorewa and lumbered themselves with Zanu – they had no other alternative. There’s no way ZanuPF would be in power had the voters retained Muzorewa’s UANC in power. As a result ZanuPF think they are demi-Gods who can do as they like because they supposedly “saved us” when it is the other way around.
    Most people contradict themselves because of little knowledge of events. Millions endorsed a new Constitution which has provisions to accord due respect and take legislative measures for the welfare and economic empowerment of so-called war veterans yet when these same war veterans give each other obscene salaries the same people who endorsed the new Constitution complain. Is this not helping those who supposedly saved your fathers? You cannot endorse the new Constitution and then moan when the so-called war veterans earn obscene salaries.

  3. Mazvihwa says:

    Why is it that some people want to kill the crusade to fight corruption by alleging that it is a factional fight? That how this part of Zanu pf do to kill these crucial exercises to rid the country of these malice. This Mabenge guy is a dimwit and surely ZBC could not survive with this kind of people constituting the board. Anyway whoever is caught engaging in corrupt activities should face the full wrath of the law and in this case they appear to belong to Mujuru faction and if she habours thieves, then they will be exposed and arrested. It is only with Zanu pf that the party is destroyed by ridding bad apples from the party. They would rather remain with a dirty party and cover up, but nothing is concealed forever.
    What people might not understand is that this is a criminal syndicate and organized crime designed to loot the country’s resources and benefitting this group in order to carry out their clandestine activities including buying their way to the Presidents. It’s a group of looters and eventually when they attain their agenda would want to loot the country big time and be friendly to any power that may loot resources in exchange for anything that enriches them.
    As per usual, Vice Presidents are in charge of Parastatals, so she made sure that her protégé dominate these institutions and even ministers aligned to her are in charge of most parastatals and that is it is appearing as if her people are being targeted.

  4. Wezhira Wezhara says:

    If indeed all these people are part of the so called Mujuru faction then by all means let us target the Mujuru faction yacho. If they condone or wish to protect those who perpetrate this kind of blatant corruption and abuse then its their ‘faction’ against the faction of all Zimbabweans

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  6. Joyce Mujuru says:

    what kind of woman is this Joyce Mujuru – Mai vano dzidzisa vana kuba. Where did comrade Teurai Ropa Nhongo go? Someone save us all from this vulture. Lost all manner of direction in this factional nonsense. You keep a dirty house – you are invaded na mapete – and the mapete have been sent by Emmerson Mnanagawa. What power you are confering on comrade Mnangagwa. Not so sure that he is that powerful.

  7. Timothy Thorton says:

    Zanu is 50 years old. It has been in government for 33 years. During its early years in government we saw the demise of Mtumbuka, Nyagumbo and others through the Willogate scandal. Wiridzai Nguluve and Mukurazhezha the first black police gurus left in a half because of corruption. Fredrick Shava went to jail for corruption. Mtumbuka was the architect of the Zintec programme a teacher’s training programme credited for increasing the number of trained teachers at a great time of need. Surely how does the dismissal or arresting of less than five people who are not prominent members of the party destroy the Zanu.The part did not collapse because of the loss of the people I have mentioned. Zanu mind you also lost its war hero Josiah Tongogara at a crucial time in its history but remained steadfast. It also lost the famous Rex Nhongo recently and went to win an election in style. That is the ZANU I know not the new Zanu where seniors get involved in daylight protection of saboteurs of the state that Zanu represents.

    There is no conspiracy here. People have misused their positions which has got an effect on the entire nation and those who abuse public office do that knowing the consequences fully well. Why would anyone say “Zvokudyiwa kwemazimari hazvinana basa iyo nyika yaparara kudaro. Kumba kwa VP chaiko hakuna mvura yepipe, vano shandisa borehole vanhu vachitambirisana mari inokwanisa kugadzirisa mvura yacho. Was watching a news clip about the water situation in Hatcliffe while writing this comment. Its pathetic. Chero mukatsiva Gushungo vacho munotongei nhai veduwe-e iyo nyiks ichiparadzwa nembavha takatarisa.

  8. Beer talk says:

    Hail the media that stand to dictate the direction of our public discussions! …its a media thing, mai mjuru was spot on.

  9. Micheal23 says:

    I am quite surprised that it took this 33 years of ruling to see that the people around them were taking lumpsons of money monthly, whilst other are suffering, of course justice must be served but in order to eliminate corruption people caught should not be hired by the government or any pvt org; even if they are arrested they have already made so much that I bet were now tired of this. If we are really true into eliminating corruption we should look at the big fish, fire them and people will see you mean business, mercy must not be in your for such people who act in such a manner.

  10. Micheal23 says:

    It is surprising that within few weeks, surprisingly al this came out, is it a game or what?, we have suffered because of your mistakes, as the bible says, God has ways of saving his people from suffering, and I think his hand is now working, members of the party selling out each other just for the high seat, people getting ridiculous salaries, when will this end, when will the suffering STOp, we are mortals not immortals, we have feelings, I mean parastatals top dogs earning such salaries yet they are designed to help the public, how can all the department be in the same scandal” Money scam or stealing”, we all are going to live all this wealth and God shall judge us all, you have no money to help you nor contacts but it will be God and yourself. Do the right for the sake of your people

  11. chokwadi says:

    This Mabenge shd tell us if the exposure is a lie or not? If its not he shd tell us why it shdnt be exposed and how non exposure benefits Zim. If e press is creating and peddling falsehoods to tarnish zpf n mai mujuru then they shd sue e media house for that

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