Statement by Senator David Coltart
5th December 2014
President Mugabe made some strong statements yesterday at the ZANU PF Congress about dealing with the scourge of corruption in Zimbabwe. This is what he is reported in the Herald as having said:
Corruption, President Mugabe said, had taken root in the country with some high-ranking officials implicated. He said police must be given powers and supported to deal with the matters.
“We cannot continue to be indifferent to this festering scourge. As the ruling party, we must now move resolutely from repeatedly calling for zero tolerance for corruption in our congresses and conferences resolutions and this time, we must be seen to be taking tangible, demonstrable and measurable action to stop this problem,” he said. “The people of Zimbabwe expect us to act, and act resolutely, without further delay. As the ruling party, we must unfettered the Zimbabwe Republic police and all the law-enforcement agencies of Zimbabwe, to give the maximum support to deal with this destructive scourge, once and for all.”
These are fine sounding words. However if the people are to believe they are genuine the following must be done as a minimum:
1. The ZANU PF Government must enact legislation similar to the old Hong Kong Bribery Ordinance which forced people to explain the difference between their income and standard of living, especially Government officials and those holding public office. In other words if a person could not explain where their income had come from they were guilty of an offence. There are many, many Ministers, Generals and other senior ranking officials who are now multi millionaires in Zimbabwe – it is simply impossible for them to have become this rich without having engaged in acts of corruption. A similar law must be passed and these corrupt individuals must be forced to explain how they have acquired such wealth.
2. Even without the passage of such a law there are existing laws which can be used to investigate and prosecute corrupt leaders. The revelations against Joice Mujuru show that the actions of senior leaders are known about. The problem is that these revelations have been made on a partisan basis. The public know of several seriously rich and corrupt leaders in the Mnangagwa faction, some of whom come from Matabeleland – the President will only be taken seriously if these people are subjected to similar scrutiny and exposure as has happened to Joice Mujuru. Until that happens the public will view such statements as mere posturing.
We wait with bated breath to see if President Mugabe is genuine. There is already massive evidence in the public domain about the corrupt activities of these senior members of ZANU PF who are going to hold very high office by the end of the current ZANU PF Congress. The public will know this is a genuine call when we read that these people are being prosecuted. Until then few will have the wool pulled over their eye.