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Bigwig arrests should be followed by convictions

by Harry Peter Wilson
12 Nov 2018 at 17:39hrs | Views
While we all applaud the anti-corruption drive being spearheaded from President Emmerson Mnangagwa's office which has seen several ex-ministers arrested for abuse of office, we all wait for the first conviction.

Until we start seeing convictions and perpetrators being sent to jail, the on-going crusade will just remain a witch hunt.

All the ex-ministers arrested - Supa Mandiwanzira, Ignatius Chombo, Walter Mzembi, David Parirenyatwa and Samuel Undenge are out on bail as they partially bought their freedom and their lives seem to still go on as local courts take ages to try them.

We have others like former police boss Augustine Chihuri who has pending court cases involving abuse of office but has since gone AWOL and authorities seem not to be bothered.

He has also failed to attend parliamentary hearings without any reprimand.

Zimbabweans are sceptical of these arrests which came immediately after the fall of former president Robert Mugabe as they seem smoke screens because of the paltry sums being involved.

From the abuse of office cases by ministers unfolding in the courts, it is only logically to conclude that there are several more cases that have not been investigated.

And authorities do not have to go far or even scratch their heads if they want to do a thorough job in bringing corrupt government to account. They just have to go to the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri's startling reports which have all these years been ignored.

Chiri has done the homework for whoever wants to probe shoddy government deals as her audits are clear, the evidence is provided and the corruption is well spelt.

While we have these ministers abusing their offices, the rot goes down to permanent secretaries and directors of parastatals.

So, until the whole government corrupt channel is exposed and uprooted, the arrests of former ministers will not yield much as new ministers are always appointed to work under a corrupt chain of top officials.

As it is turning out, most of the companies being contracted to carry out government assignments are owned by top government officials and ministers.

We hope Mnangagwa's anti-corruption team will soon start unearthing real corruption in government as it is bleeding our ailing economy.

The anti-corruption crusade should not only target ex-ministers because this is being viewed as biased because there are some serving ministers who are corrupt to the bone.

Mnangagwa's friends should also face the music, it should not only be those who are not his friends who are arrested as is the norm today.

And it is good that the last weeks have seen the black market slowly disappearing as Mnangagwa flexes his muscle.

We hope his government will also deal with his officials and bank executives who are believed to have been running the black market as they have easy access to bond notes.

I personally applaud Mnangagwa's effort to fight graft although I eagerly wait to see a conviction and the real big fish being arrested as well!

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Wilson is president of DOP

Source - Harry Peter Wilson