OPPOSITION parties and analysts have dismissed threats by President Robert Mugabe to clamp down on corrupt government officials, describing the remarks as his usual political grandstanding.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Addressing the 15th Zanu PF annual national people’s conference in Victoria Falls on Friday, Mugabe blasted unscrupulous officials who dipped their hands in every deal signed by government.
He disclosed that he told the Chinese President XI Jinping during his state visit recently that some Chinese companies were blacklisted here because they connived with Zimbabwean officials to inflate tender prices.
Mugabe’s threats have, however, been dismissed as mere grandstanding as he has previously spoken hard on corruption but has done nothing about it.
“Robert Mugabe is an expert at sending mixed signals. He will indicate left and then suddenly turn right. When it comes to corruption, he hardly means what he says,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“He knows that both his party and the government he leads are corrupt to the bare bone and these warnings that he made in Victoria Falls are just political gimmick. He is not serious. Corruption and Zanu PF are like inseparable Siamese twins; the one can’t do without the other.”
National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson Madock Chivasa weighed in, saying if Mugabe wanted to deal with corruption, he had to disband his party first.
“It is not possible for Mugabe to deal with corruption. Zanu PF is the symbol of corruption and its officials are responsible for the mess we are in,” he said.
“It’s actually impossible for Mugabe to deal with corruption, unless he disbands his party. Without that Zimbabweans must not take his rhetoric seriously as it is mere grandstanding.”
Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe spokesperson Pishai Muchauraya said Mugabe was not sincere as he was told the same by former South African president Thabo Mbeki but did nothing.
“He was trying to do public relations. Mugabe has been issuing such statements but not even a single pure Zanu PF minister was arrested, save for those perceived to be Gamatox,” he said.
Jacob Mafume of the People’s Democratic Party said the net would never close in on corrupt Zanu PF officials.
“The more he talks, the more corrupt his government becomes. The net he talks about has holes big enough for corrupt whales to get through. We have heard this before and it sounds like ‘fury signifying nothing’,” he said.
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said those accused of corruption would never lose sleep because they knew nothing would be done to them.
“I don’t think even those who are supposedly guilty of those nefarious actions have anything to fear. Those ministers have been issued with threats over and over again but nothing has happened to offenders,” Masunungure said.
“I don’t think anyone will be ruffled by the threats. Basically, the threats will not see the light of day. Corruption is so endemic in Zimbabwe that you cannot isolate ministers alone. In every aspect of society and the economy, there is corruption.”
He said if the government was serious about dealing with corruption, they had to change the culture first.
Another analyst Gladys Hlatywayo said more emphasis should be put on accountability.
“The talk is definitely cheap. We need strong action on corrupt officials. The Auditor General has been issuing reports for the past years of how millions of dollars were lost through corruption and yet government is doing nothing except this cheap talk,” she said.