THE problem with Zimbabwe is that officials expose themselves to situations that compromise their ability to take action when things go wrong.
Positions in government departments, ministries, parastatals and other state agencies are brimming with fathers, mothers, grandmothers and their clans, which compromises adherence to regulations because every senior official wants to protect their cronies to help them continue looting through various self-enriching schemes designed to perpetuate high level plunder.
Elaborate crimes are being swept under the carpet.
It is a vicious cycle of plunder that starts with the selective allocation of government scholarships and ends with the carefully selected kith and kin establishing shelf companies to access highly rewarding state contracts.
In many cases, those whose transgressions are exposed by forensic audits are either given fresh mandates in other ministries or earn shocking promotions to sanitise their wicked ways.
This is one of the few countries where bigwigs shamelessly display nepotism but continue to hold positions of influence.
This is why it would be difficult for Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube to punish those who have been looting public funds by supplying goods at inflated prices.
This has been a topical issue in the past two weeks, yet no arrest has been made to demonstrate that Ncube and his team mean what they say. Until such malcontents are brought to book, the temptation to speculate that the minister is making wild claims to divert attention from his own illegal expenditure remains high.
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The truth is, Ncube might be determined to crack down on vice and clean the mess, but his manoeuvres could be hitting a brickwall because tenders at the centres of ongoing controversies have been awarded to cronies of those in power — the untouchables.
This clique enjoys maximum protection to give it access to lucrative deals in construction and mining. Some of them have been given key roles at in parastatals. Others have moved to farming, running hospitals and local authorities where they push through their own companies to supply goods and services.
But Zimbabwe cannot continue to operate as a feifdom of pseudodynasties or the private property of those wielding political power.
This is unacceptable for many reasons. Looted funds by tenderprenuers will not be returned because investigators would be threatened or reshuffled to defuse their influence.
Those that will stand against corruption will be fired or transferred.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to end this culture when he assumed power after the coup in 2017. But he has failed to act leading to the governance catastrophe that confronts Zimbabwe today. This must be corrected to give the state power to punish looters and blacklist them from accessing government tenders.
Those who try to protect their proteges must be arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
Please walk the talk on fighting graft.