SOMETHING is terribly wrong in the highest office of the land.
Candid Comment Owen Gagare
Why else would President Robert Mugabe and the officials surrounding him remain tight-lipped as corruption continues to grow deep roots under their watch?
Indeed, the executive’s attitude towards corruption is an indication that it is directly and indirectly fueling corruption by protecting corrupt elements, reinforcing the belief that the country is ruled by a kleptocracy.
Reports that the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) used its influence to award the multi-million dollar Dema Diesel Power Plant contract to Sakunda Holdings’ Kuda Tagwirei, who has partnered Mugabe’s in-law Derrick Chikore, after elbowing APR Energy Holdings imply that the OPC may actually be complicit in corruption.
Certainly the decision to sideline a company which had satisfied tender requirements in favour of one which did not participate in the tender process smackes of corruption.
In any case the OPC’s decision was contrary to tender requirements which stated that “the bidder must have experience in previous jobs of similar magnitude and expertise of staff.”
It seems therefore, the company was corruptly awarded the contract simply because of the involvement of Chikore.
The fact that Tagwirei is a Zanu PF benefactor could have also come in handy in ensuring the OPC’s ill-advised intervention in the brazen crony arrangement.
Worse still, the project is an “unnecessary expense” at least according to Zesa engineers, who argue it will only serve to increase electricity tariffs while milking the parastatal.
Zesa will purchase electricity from Dema at 15,45c/kWh whereas the parastatal produces electricity at Kariba at 4,11c/kWh while generating electricity at Hwange Thermal Station costs 6,97c/kWh.
It has already applied for a 49% hike in electricity charges, partly because of the need to absorb the high cost of the Dema project.
The OPC’s involvement in the deal raises questions about the intergrity of the highest office and its commitment to fight corruption. Given Mugabe’s attitude it is not surprising that he has remained mum in the wake of revelations that the country’s energy deals were inflated by more than US$500 million.
These include deals controversially awarded to Intratrek, owned by convicted fraudster Wicknell Chivayo. Chivayo has posted pictures on social media with Mugabe and his wife Grace while boasting of his close links to the First Family. The president has not dissociated himself from the businessman, hence the widespread belief that he was awarded energy contracts worth US$400 million because of his association with the Mugabes.
To aggravate the situation, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba spent the whole of last week spiritedly defending corruption by berating a constitutionally established anti-corruption body for merely doing its work.
The rot is right at the top. As they say, the fish rots from the head.