By Felex Share
President Mugabe says he has the will to tackle corruption by bigwigs, but punishment will only be meted on those found guilty after thorough investigations. He said the relevant Government arms were ready to investigate the so-called “big-fish” if adequate evidence was presented to them.The Head of State and Government said apart from Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo’s Zimdef saga, there were no other alleged high-profile corruption cases to point to at the moment.
See interview on Page 6 and video clip on www.herald.co.zw
President Mugabe was speaking during his traditional birthday interview with ZBCTV aired on Monday and last night.
The President turned 93 yesterday.
“We must be a clean party,” he said. “It’s very important. I don’t want to run a party ine mathieves and corrupt persons. If there is evidence, we will pursue that evidence and certainly we will deal with the persons.”
President Mugabe said while he was ready to tackle graft by Zanu-PF and Government bigwigs, personal and political vendettas would not be tolerated.
He said many people were good at labelling others as corrupt without proffering any evidence.
“We have a case now, we have the anti-corruption, they are at cross purposes with Professor Jonathan Moyo,” President Mugabe said.
“He thinks they are being political and that the funds they say he has used in a corrupt way, were funds that were requested, some by the youths, others by women, by the party in general. Well, the case is going on but there are no cases you can point to of big fish having done this.”
“Tongonzwa kuti nhingi ari corrupt, nhingi ari corrupt. Zvingadai zviri izvo (and) the big fish might also be capable of hiding their corruption. I don’t know, but zvinongotaurwa or people are afraid to come out or even come to us and say, aah, uyu kana kuri kuba, arikuba mari dzakati.
“We investigate that. Zvinongonzi big fish, big fish, big fish and you are saying big fish too. Who are the big fish you have in mind? Have you ever asked them (critics) who the big fish are and what the corruption they are accused of is about? Vamwe vanongonenera vanhu kuti vari corrupt. Kana ini ndinongonzwa rumour iyoyo. I can say I haven’t heard it kuti aah vari corrupt, vari corrupt. Kana vanhu vasingabude pachena kutiudza kuti aah this is what the big fish is doing, investigate him and you will get to the truth.”
He said even “small fish” had no place in society as they “have a tendency of growing big.”
“So you catch them before they grow big,” President Mugabe said. “I think the big fish, more of it has been talk, talk, talk and talk. People have not come out and actually said here is a case against the big fish, here are cases against the big fish.”
Turning to infrastructure development in line with the Government’s economic blueprint, ZimAsset, President Mugabe said he had “my eyes on that daily.”
He expressed optimism that the programmes being worked on the various roads, railway networks and airway would change the face of the country within the next three years.
“I have my eyes on infrastructure daily really,” he said.
“It’s not just roads, its railways but railways, I think they are doing something with China. Then airways, they are quite advanced in trying to get fresh aircraft. I am of the view that over the next two three years the face of Zimbabwean infrastructure will really change.”
President Mugabe said the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway by Austrian firm Geiger International would begin soon.
He added that the country’s major roads had been worsened by the movement of haulage trucks.
“Maintenance, they have tried to do as much as they could, to keep the main roads usable, but of course, they couldn’t keep pace with the damage that was being done by these haulage trucks,” he said.
He described the destruction done by the rains on the country’s roads as “sweet damage”.
“The volume of rain which has pounded on and over our roads and caused quite a lot of damage in some cases have made our situation much more expensive than it would have been if we hadn’t had that damage,”
“But one would want to say its sweet damage because we need the rains anyway, so we can’t complain too much. And Almighty will say if you were crying for rain and I have given you rain and why cry now that your roads are damaged? Do you need to cry about that at all? You can take care of the roads. Certainly, the Almighty has played his part and we said thank God, bless the Lord for he is good.”