Saturday, 12 November 2016

CARRY YOUR CROSSES : ARMY COMMANDER TELLS CORRUPT MINISTERS

Government officials who engage in corruption must be prepared to face prosecution in accordance with Zimbabwe’s laws and should not hide behind claims of political persecution, Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda has said.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Lt-Gen Sibanda said his position on corruption was in sync with that of his boss, the Commander in Chief-of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Mugabe. The Army commander also said the military had no hand in Zanu-PF’s internal political issues and would play no role in alleged succession struggles.

Lt-Gen Sibanda becomes the latest senior military officer to put his foot down on the matter of official sleaze and impropriety following allegations of corruption and abuse of office by senior Government officials, including Cabinet ministers.

President Mugabe has upped the ante against graft, bringing the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission directly under direct supervision of his office last year. Pursuing an anti-corruption thrust is part of President Mugabe’s 10-Point Plan for Economic Growth.

Recently, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri also condemned corruption, telling corrupt officials to man up and face the music. ZNA Chief-of-Staff Major-Gen Douglas Nyikayaramba also told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Security that corruption by senior Government officials was partly to blame for poor economic growth.

And yesterday Lt-Gen Sibanda said, “My take (on corruption) is no different from what my Commander-in-Chief has already said: Anyone who is involved in corruption should carry his own cross and that is our position as the military as well.”

On private media claims that the military was enmeshed in internal party matters, the Army commander said: “We are not playing any role (in politics).

“That field is for the political parties, in this particular case I guess you are talking about Zanu-PF. In Zanu-PF the military has no role to play in terms of succession politics, and that is the long and short of it.”

Lt-Gen Sibanda was speaking to The Sunday Mail on the sidelines the Mechanised Brigade and Inkomo Garrison Unit’s Couples Day celebrations at Nyabira Country Club. Allegations of corruption and abuse of office by senior Government officials have dominated media headlines in recent months, with the public calling for decisive action.

Among the high profile cases ZACC is investigating involve Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s allocation of residential stands at Chishawasha B Farm; and how his Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development counterpart Professor Jonathan Moyo and other officials allegedly siphoned hundreds of thousands of US dollars from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.

President Mugabe quizzed Minister Kasukuwere over the stands issue before a Zanu-PF Politburo meeting. The stands are supposed to benefit youths, women and civil servants; and the minister is accused of seeking to profit from the land by selling it to his associates.

In the Zimdef case, Prof Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa allegedly used shelf companies Wisebone Trading and Fuzzy Technologies to loot the parastatal. Dr Gandawa owns Fuzzy Technologies.

Prof Moyo has responded to the Zimdef allegations by likening himself on social media to Robin Hood – a character from British folklore who robbed the rich and gave to the poor.

Zimdef was established in terms of Section 23 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act 36 of 1948, now the revised Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02) of 1996 to finance development of critical and highly skilled manpower through a one percent Training Levy paid by companies registered in Zimbabwe.

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