Editorial Comment: Corruption undermining ED’s Second Republic

ALTHOUGH President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record saying corruption, a socio-economic cancer that has continued to eat into the country’s moral fabric, will not be tolerated in his “Second Republic” after it had become unforgivably widespread under former President Robert Mugabe, what is happening on the ground unfortunately points to a different trajectory.

Granted Mnangagwa’s decision to relieve Joram Gumbo of his post as Energy minister against a backdrop of widespread fuel shortages and crippling power cuts across the country was a welcome development.

But retaining him in government under a new post stinks to high heaven. It’s merely a perpetuation of a “jobs for the boys” culture entrenched over the years under Mugabe.

Gumbo is now Presidential Affairs minister responsible for implementation and monitoring. What implementation and monitoring when the chap dismally failed the country in his portfolio?

This new appointment smacks of duplicity and hypocrisy on the President’s part. Of course, this is politics and we understand he needs more eyes and ears but not at the expense of the nation. In fact, this is a demonstration of the Mnangagwa government’s reluctance to deal with issues and to send a message to his subordinates that under-performace and corruption will not be tolerated.

The deposed minister, who failed miserably to deal with the fuel crisis or mitigate against power cuts despite being aware of the dire situation, gets promoted to superintend other ministers. What a travesty!

Gumbo comes from Mnangagwa’s Midlands province just like Zanu PF Midlands provincial chairman, Daniel Mackenzie Ncube who has been appointed National Oil Infrastructure Company board chairman. More jobs for the boys or keep the boys on the gravy train!

It is no wonder then that the so-called crusade against corruption has no wings, hence will not fly.

Before his appointment as Energy minister in Mnangagwa’s administration, Gumbo served as Transport minister in Mugabe’s Cabinet during which time deep-seated scandals rocked Zinara and Air Zimbabwe, which fell under his purview. It is ironic that a President who is serious about steering Zimbabwe into a glorious economic future would retain such tainted individuals in his Cabinet.

What this simply means is that fighting corruption is a lost cause because the country’s leader dines and wines with the very people accused of practising and perpetuating corruption.

These politicians continue to feed at the public trough, at his pleasure, enjoying the perks and privileges that come with their ministerial appointments regardless of their proven incompetence or corruption because it’s all about jobs for the boys, nothing more, nothing less.

The Second Republic, the moniker given to the Mnangagwa era is in danger of going the way of his predecessor, Mugabe. But then, Mnangagwa spent decades as the old political chess master’s sidekick. Maybe one cannot teach an old dog new tricks after all.

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