THE issue of institutionalised corruption at a Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) depot in Harare is really a cause for concern.
Corruption undermines social justice in many ways.
It diverts public funds meant for development to the elite, raids resources intended for poverty reduction and distorts the economy, with the biggest impact felt by the poorest people in the society.
Zimbabwe has not been spared from this scourge. The root cause of corruption lies in the delegation of power.
Examiners at the VID depot are demanding exorbitant bribes for one to acquire a driver’s licence.
They are alleged to be demanding bribes ranging from US$150 to US$200.
Anyone who does not pay a bribe will struggle to get a licence or will never get one.
Reports say if one goes for a road test and does not pay a bribe, the VID officer testing that person will make sure that they fail.
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They will make sure that you go through a very difficult situation, where you will fail to manoeuvre the car.
Management at the VID depot is at the forefront of corruption, which cascades down to the lowest rung.
Action must be taken to investigate these reports and fire those who are implicated.
Those involved in criminal abuse of office must not just go scot-free.
Transport minister Felix Mhona should quickly reshuffle staff or institute a complete overhaul at the VID which has institutionalised corruption.
Owners of driving schools in Harare tried to engage the VID management on why the pass rate of their students was dropping because it was compromising their business.
The management invited the anti-riot police to the depot which beat up the driving school owners with batons.
This kind of bahaviour is unacceptable and has no room in a democracy. - Leonard KoniMnangagwa, Judiciary tarnishing Zim image
N what appears to be a bizarre judgment, a High Court judge in Zimbabwe disqualified 12 Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) parliamentary candidates from Bulawayo province from participating in the August 23 harmonised elections.
Barely three months before the judgment was passed, government had extended housing “loans” of US$400 000 each to judges.
Of cause, before advancing “loans” to the judges, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had authorised a “loan” of half a million United States dollars each that was not budgeted for himself and his Cabinet.
It is an open secret that the judges were given these loans so that they can make political judgments against Zanu PF’s opponents as we approach the elections.
What makes this judgment bizarre is that it was made clear in court by lawyers of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) that the CCC parliamentary candidates submitted their papers before the 4pm deadline.
However, the judge, who was not present to see what transpired at the nomination court, still ruled that the papers were submitted after closing time.
If the judge could not trust lawyers representing the organisation that is entrusted with running elections, then the whole election is a farce.
This is why there have been calls for Sadc, the African Union and the United Nations to play a curial role in supervising the elections in Zimbabwe.
Before becoming President, Mnangagwa and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana boasted that Zanu PF controlled the police, the courts, the army and all State institutions, hence they told them what to do.
That idea seems not to have escaped Mnangagwa’s thinking, hence choosing to bribe the judges with US$400 000 loans each ahead of the elections.
If the official deadline to receive nomination papers is 4pm, one must not expect Zec officials to be able to process all the papers submitted in zero minutes.
Time has to be allowed for the Zec officials to process the papers.
If they took too long to process, their mistake should not be used to deprive Zimbabweans the right to elect candidates of their choice who had expressed interest by submitting their papers to the relevant body.
Interestingly, the judge dismissed the application against Zvikwete Innocent Mbano who had been challenged under similar circumstances as the 12 CCC candidates on the basis that his papers were not in order and had to be sorted.
If the CCC candidates’ papers were also not in order, just like Mbano’s, they should also have been sorted without them being disqualified.
It is my sincere hope that Sadc, the African Union, the United Nations and the diplomatic community which enjoy good relations with Zimbabwe will intervene. - Kennedy KaitanoMixed fortunes in energy sector
THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) hiked electricity tariffs by more than 145% early June 2023 in line with poor Zimdollar performance as it had lost 59,4% on the interbank market in May 2023.
In May, ZETDC hiked tariffs by more than 22% as the Zimdollar had lost by 59,4% in the prior month.
While these hikes were inevitable as Zesa Holdings had to charge economic tariffs for it to at least break even, the steep tariff hikes have exerted enormous pressure on household budgets as salaries have remained largely constant despite raging price inflation.
In June 2023, the Zimdollar also lost 55,1% of its value on the interbank market. However, we did not expect a tariff hike in July 2023 as the rate of Zimdollar depreciation on the parallel market had started to show signs of slowing down while gaining on the official market.
Again, a pause in electricity tariff hike in July was experienced since domestic generation by the Zimbabwe Power Company significantly improved as Hwange Units 7 and 8; with a combined installed capacity of 600 megawatts (MW) having been fed into the national grid. Output from the 1 050MW Kariba South Hydro plant has improved significantly after production was affected in early 2023 by critically low “live water” dam level.
The improved domestic generation has largely dwarfed both load-shedding hours and electricity import bills. For example, the latest May 2023 statistics from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency show that imports went down 65,5% in May 2023 to settle at US$9,1 million.
In June 2023, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) reduced the price of a litre of diesel by 3,1% from US$1,61 in May 2023 to US$1,56, while that of petrol was reduced by 3,7% to US$1,56 from US$1,61 in May 2023.
Although Zera also hiked Zimdollar fuel prices in June 2023, reporting of Zimdollar prices is now a ritual meant to conform with the dual currency regime. The Zimdollar fuel market for the public is now non-existent since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe dollarised the fuel market four years ago.
The domestic fuel prices fell in the first half of this year due to retreating global oil prices as concerns over the health of the global economy (higher interest rates) and oil demand prospects (muted industrial activity) depressed the overall market sentiment.
On July 5, 2023, Zera reviewed fuel prices per litre upwards to US$1,57 (petrol) and US$1,58 (diesel). The regulator said the price increase was due to the blended prices inflation rates which have been slowly increasing in both foreign and local currencies.
In year-to-date terms, petrol price went up 0,6% per litre, while that of diesel fell by 2,5% per litre. In annual terms, petrol price is down 11,3% per litre from a peak of US$1,77 in June 2022, while that of diesel is down 16% from a peak of US$1,88 in June 2022. - Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development