THE Financial Gazette this week sought comments from a range of political and social commentators over the ensuing drama involving Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, Jonathan Moyo’s alleged siphoning of resources from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF). The publication also sought to understand what they thought of government’s anti-corruption mantra.
“Jonathan Moyo’s future is largely dependent on how President Robert Mugabe still finds him useful and this goes for all in ZANU-PF. As long as President Mugabe sees him as a useful tool then he is very safe. We may be a constitutional democracy on paper, but that goes only as far as President Mugabe’s interests are not in conflict with that of the Constitution. So ZACC maybe a constitutional body, but its effectiveness is only visible as far as President Mugabe allows it to go…The whole Moyo saga and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s actions of releasing crime suspects demonstrates that the rule of law is piecemeal and only talked of or necessary to advance the interests of ZANU-PF and not the common good. Criminals are those outside and opposed to ZANU-PF. The ZACC’s effectiveness is judged on results and public trust and ZACC is in deficit on the two. ZACC is too politicised to be effective and Moyo and others are right to say it’s probably being used to fight political battles…those accusing it of lack of effectiveness are also those undermining ZAAC. — Rashweat Mukundu, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute chairperson.
“ZANU-PF cannot be imagined as an anti-corruption institution. It is a corrupt party and the recent looting of State monies for party and other uses is evidence of this….Whichever way we speak about factionalism, it’s possible that all factions are corrupt and they do so in serving the interests of this so called centre of all power. Moyo still has a future. He is like everyone else around. The badge of shame is now more visible and prominent. It’s no longer shame by association, but by deed. The only option is to be in good books with the centre of all power and keep Number One happy.” — Shepherd Mpofu, academic researcher.
“This is not necessarily the endgame for Moyo. It depends on what protection he can find for himself. While ZACC’s probe may well be coloured by factional dynamics and string pulling, evidently Moyo has some serious questions to answer. This wouldn’t be for the first time. His traditional belligerence and bluster accusing everyone of everything makes it look as though he is hiding something. But he is not known for caring much about such perceptions. His apparent efforts to point fingers at grander misuse of funds is a sad reflection of the ‘sandpit’ politics playing out and a cavalier attitude to the partisan misuse of State funds.” — Piers Pigou, International Crisis Group regional director.
“Is Jonathan Moyo being targeted because of prebendalism? The answer is a big no! Otherwise the next Cabinet and Politburo meetings will be held at Chikurubi maximum prison because prebendalists will constitute a quorum there. Again, it is not a naked witch-hunt stuck in pristine tribal politics. This is a power game at hand as those within the President’s proximity sent signals that President Robert Mugabe is in his twilight political zone. So Moyo is being targeted because he is seen as an intellectual missile containing political explosives meant to derail one faction’s calculated moves to eventually ride on the saddle of State power. It is all mired in a high voltage succession game, but I do not think that Moyo will be politically electrocuted. In ZANU-PF’s politics, when you aim you must not miss. If you miss you give your opponent another political life and tables can turn. On ZAAC, it is a constitutional body, hence it is sacrosanct, but only if it sticks within its constitutional mandate and executes its duties without fear or favour like all other commissions. The real danger is that the green signal being sent by ZANU-PF elites is that President Mugabe is literally done and without proper transitional mechanism might plunge the nation into chaos and give birth to a failed state reminiscent of Somalia and Sudan.”— Phillan Zamchiya, Oxford University-trained political scientist.
“I think that with the current dynamics that we are seeing — that when government officials’ corrupt tendencies are exposed — they seek refuge in their superiors. The zero tolerance to corruption mantra has become dead in the water. The tragic part is that many people did not believe there was enough political will in the fight against corruption, and unfortunately they have been vindicated. The anti-corruption blitzkrieg that was purportedly launched last year under the theme ACT is going nowhere.
It was merely hot air meant to sedate citizen in the belief that corruption will now be confronted when it was all empty grandstanding. The biggest problem facing the anti-corruption drive is the pervasive insincerity about fighting it, which reduces everything to mere slogans. This is because most of those who are supposed to drive the process might have dirty hands after all. However, factionalism has added to the spanners that have perennially already been thrown in the works by lack of political will.
This is because the allegations by those supposed to fight corruption and defences by those facing serious criminal accusations with regards to corruption are being made on the basis of factional allegiances rather than disinterested respect for law and order. It makes the whole thing a circus of sorts, yet there is a big monster in government that needs to be tackled in the form of corruption. It is not very helpful to politicise the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and expect it to get the confidence of the public or even get anything meaningful done. So the truth is that ZACC is not very effective and one had to see how it was barely mentioned or given a platform to lay out its own anti-graft plans during the launch of the ACT campaign in Harare last year. That showed where it belonged in the perking order, at the back benches, while politicians lead a proverbial witch-hunt in which the majority of them are the witches. ZACC has always been a white elephant to pacify the citizens’ need and genuine call of an anti-corruption body by giving them a paper tiger without actually having a real independent entity that bites when it sees corruption getting out of hand. You can see that ZACC is only visible when it is given political instructions. In its current form where it is like a puppet which only dances when the politicians pull the strings and stop when they stop, ZACC is a bad excuse for an anti-graft body.” — Vivid Gwede, rights activist and political analyst.
“I think ZANU-PF’s zero tolerance to corruption mantra is just that, mantra. The party is merely paying lip service, while in reality allowing corruption to go unchecked because it rules by politics of patronage, using control of key institutions and public resources as means to maintain its hold on power. ZACC is not an effective corruption watchdog because it effectively lacks autonomy and independence to deal with corruption.
The fact that it is now working under the President’s office shows that there is no real autonomy and it is bound to be influenced by ZANU-PF’s factionalism and patronage politics. For this reason, instances of corruption are allowed to go unchecked as long as it is implemented by ‘politically correct’ individuals. There is a need for Zimbabwe to have an autonomous and independent anti-corruption commission that will be able to operate with honesty and integrity. Even ZACC, in its current form, is not totally useless, but it’s a pity that it is controlled by senior politicians, who seek to protect their cronies and interests. Serious reforms to enable institutions such as ZACC to operate independently are needed.” — Zibusiso Dube, political commentator.
“ZANU-PF’s zero tolerance to corruption mantra is pure, undiluted nonsense to say the least. ZANU-PF has presided over massive corruption and only when it is politically or factionaly expedient is action taken. For example, is there any headway in bringing those who looted the US$15 billion diamond revenues? There is also the alleged corruption in allocation of stands, just to mention a few. ZACC is only as effective as it is allowed to be by government.
It is supposed to be an independent commission according to chapter 13 of the Constitution, but without proper budgetary support, political will from government and the intrigues of factional politics, it will struggle. It has tended to target small fish and Moyo could be the biggest fish it has targeted thus far. When it tried to investigate one of the top officials in ZANU-PF it hit a brickwall and the director of ZACC was hit with allegations of corruption himself. ZACC is a good entity stuck in a poisoned and toxic political environment.” — Dumisani Nkomo, political analyst.