PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says he will next week restructure the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) as part of his fight against graft, arguing it had become a haven for corruption.
The development comes amid allegations that some of the organ’s officials were either corrupt or mired in Zanu PF factional politics.
Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said yesterday all Zacc commissioners had resigned with effect from January 31. “All commissioners have gone on leave pending finalisation of their term. In the meantime His Excellency the President will shortly appoint a new chairperson . . . and requests for nominees from the Standing Rules and Orders (SROC) . . . towards the appointment of the rest of the commissioners.”
In an interview on Wednesday night, Mnangagwa said the level of corruption at Zacc had reached serious levels, forcing him to act. “Zacc is corrupt. I have to attend to it. I will have to make a statement on that next week. I am putting up a new structure altogether,” he said.
Mnangagwa said corruption at the institution has been a major drawback in the anti-graft campaign he launched when he became President in November 2017.
“In my inauguration speech on November 24, 2017, I made a statement to the effect that we would leave no stone unturned in our efforts to fight corruption. But I have since realised that it is very difficult to fight corruption because we are dealing with the very people who are involved in corruption. As soon as you leave, they will say kanofunga kuti kangazvigona here kamudhara aka? (does this old man think he can succeed in dealing with corruption?),” Mnangagwa said.
“But we will not relent. We will keep fighting corruption because we cannot give in if we are serious about rebuilding the country,” he said.
Mnangagwa first showed signs he lacked confidence in Zacc in May last year when he established a special anti-corruption unit housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet “to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of graft and to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms for the prevention of corruption”.
Although it was claimed at the time that the organ would work in collaboration with Zacc, there were complaints that officials from the two institutions would often step on each other’s toes.
According to global corruption watchdog Transparency International’s latest statistics released earlier this week, Zimbabwe is ranked 160th most corrupt country out of 180 surveyed countries. The country loses millions of dollars due to corruption each year. Since Mnangagwa’s rise to office, high-profile individuals who have been charged with corruption include former cabinet ministers Samuel Undenge, Saviour Kasukuwere, Ignatius Chombo and Supa Mandiwanzira. Prominent business executives like suspended Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority chief executive officer Joshua Chifamba have also been charged.