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When you think it can’t get worse …

In the aftermath of the “Air Simbabwe” outrage, former finance minister Tendai Biti has described President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law Simba Chikore as a chap who dresses like a poor man’s version of Koffi Olomide.

Candid Comment,Brezhnev Malaba

Well, let’s not get carried away. A man’s sartorial taste is his democratic right — no matter how garish his dress sense may be. But let’s face it, banter has its place and time. This is a serious matter of national importance.

Chikore’s appointment to the post of Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer is not an aberration; it fits neatly into an established pattern.

As we report elsewhere in these pages, the Zanu PF government is now plotting to probe and even dismantle the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on the spurious grounds that the constitutional institution has gone rogue.

The grotesque irony of it all is that no less a figure than Mugabe himself announced in parliament yesterday that the Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill will be tabled in this new legislative session to foster transparency and accountability in the financial affairs of state entities and to regulate the conduct of parastatal managers and board members.

You don’t need to be a malcontent to see that there is a scandalous disconnect between what the leaders of this country say in front of cameras and what they do behind the scenes. Zimbabwe, it appears, is now a bizarre world of make-believe where the unreal is real and logic is turned on its head.

Despite living amid a treasure trove of precious resources described as “the Persian Gulf of strategic minerals”, Zimbabweans are among the poorest people in the world. It is not because of colonialism or neo-imperialism. Neither is it the fault of El Niño, Western sanctions nor cruel providence. It really boils down to failed leadership.

Colonialism may have fallen decades ago, but the coloniality of power is very much alive in the Mugabe milieu.

When will we wake up and realise that cronyism, nepotism and patronage are the parents of corruption? One of the defining traits of a banana republic is the brazen glorification of kinship over professional qualifications, integrity and experience.

In today’s Zimbabwe, the political elites conduct themselves with a sense of impunity.

It’s unheard of in civilised societies for a whole vice-president to storm a police station and free “his boys” who have been arrested on corruption charges. And we still ask why parastatals are dead and buried?

The answer to those questions can be found in John Steinbeck’s immortal words: “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts … perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”

As another election looms and the endgame beckons, there is a feeding frenzy at the public trough.

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  1. is there still an Air Zimbabwe to talk about? May be he will restore it to its former glory and create much needed jobs. Tinogona kushoora mbodza neinozvimbira.

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