Sunday, October 16, 2016

Two Deadly Sins Zimbabweans Must Eschew
October 15, 2016
Opinion & Analysis
Perspective, Stephen Mpofu

Zanu-PF and its government should demonstrate that it is not a toothless bulldog by descending heavily on a Cabinet minister, his deputy and a party youth leader for the plunder of $270 000 — money meant to support students being skilled by tertiary institutions for chosen vocations whose upshot effects are to boost social and economic fortunes for our nation as a whole.

Part of the money was reportedly used to buy bicycles and tricycles for Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo’s constituents in Tsholotsho and part of it was spent on personal furniture for Dr Gandawa.

The Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) is said to be also investigating a separate case in which Prof Moyo and Dr Gandawa are suspected of getting Zimdef to release 100 000 litres of fuel worth $118 500 and which was then diverted to the black market. According to Prof Moyo the fuel was handed to National Youth Council CEO, Livingstone Dzikira, and Zanu-PF youth leader Kudzai Chipanga.

As would be expected, and legitimately so, the Zimbabwe National Students Union is livid over the scandal which disadvantages students in their pursuit in career goals for the benefit of the motherland as a whole.

Now listen to this. Chipanga sprints breathlessly and takes cover behind the back of the private press — a press that to all intents and purposes is known vehemently to be opposed to Zanu-PF and its government — to attack ZACC, The Herald as well as the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services for exposing the rot which comes across as a deadly sin to Zimbabwe’s body politik and the country’s integrity in the eyes of the world at large.

A leader is decidedly a mentor for his or her followers and, that being the case, this pen wonders at to what type of mentorship Chipanga offers to those that he leads.

In fact under normal circumstances — and this pen believes the political circumstances are normal — Chipanga’s attack on a body legally meant to cleanse society of any corruption seeking to encrust itself on the nation — by choosing to be counted with opponents of his party and government to try to clear himself of any wrongdoing at best makes him a candidate for demotion from his leadership position and at worst being given short shrift from his party.

And, apparently not wanting to be outdone, Prof Moyo posits a holier than thou stance by mentioning an unnamed or imaginary offender involved in taking money out of the country through diamond smuggling. He appears to justify what he did with the cycles he gave away to Tsholotsho by citing English folklore robber Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

But even curiosa and curiosa still we have Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko attacking ZACC for “maliciously” seeking to interview Prof Moyo for his part in the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) scandal, and saying that the anti-graft body has no power to arrest a Cabinet minister without authorisation from the President, suggesting by his remark that cabinet ministers enjoyed unassailed immunity for whatever breach of the law they may be accused of committing.

But that the good vice president cited no section of the supreme law of the land or of its ancillary laws makes novices in legal matters wonder as to where he based his utterance.

On the contrary, legal experts do suggest that only the president of the land enjoys such immunity against arrest.

That being the case, therefore, is it too much exaggeration for this pen to suggest that the honorable vice president’s defence for Prof Moyo may have left President Mugabe in an invidious position, knowing as most Zimbabweans do, of his uncompromising anti-corruption stance.

In fact should the hands of Prof Moyo and those of his accomplices remain free from handcuffs not give off the impression to gullible publics that those persons remain untouchable at the pleasure of our president?

The mind boggles.

But surely, is it not the mandate of the Anti-Corruption Commission to expose the riff-raff rather than sweep the filth under the carpet, as a way of cleansing our society of any scales of dirt that might be encrusted on it?

Yes, that anti-corruption broom is doing what it was chosen to do and should not be broken willy-nilly by anyone; otherwise that body will be immortalised in the annals of Zimbabwe’s history as having been toothless, like an old person without any incisors in his or her mouth to bite anything.

And The Herald, which Chipanga also attacked, must be recognised by both its foes and supporters as carrying out the responsibilities for which the country’s public media must do without fear or favour as the eyes of the government on the one hand, and of the public on the other so that any evil tendencies that rear up their ugly heads in our society are got rid of.

For any politician or non-politician to try malevolently to politicise corruption or any other misdeeds as a way of diverting attention will not do this nation any good. On the contrary mischief makers will break the laws of the country with impunity, knowing that the long arm of the law will not reach them.

Corruption of any kind, including the siphoning of money or fuel from a quasi-state or private institution, is totally indefensible whether by a high-ranking government official or by a private citizen and so whatever those involved in the Zimdef scandal say to try to justify themselves should be treated as cover-up hogwash and at which all law-abiding citizens should thumb their noses.

What Zimbabweans obviously wait to see in the case in point above is whether the Government and the party will be lulled into silence and inaction by whatever rhetorical excuses are mouthed by the subjects in question, or whether blitzkrieging them will help deter would-be offenders whose actions ultimately degrade the image of Zimbabwe and with that scare away potential investors badly needed to help revive an economy buttered down by illegal, Western economic sanctions.

There should never ever be a sacred cow where corruption as well as another deadly sin, tribalism, raise their ugly heads.

South Sudan, Africa’s newest state is virtually torn apart by tribal or ethnic strife with people being gunned down, their homes razed to the ground or fleeing to seek refuge in safe United Nations facilities or fleeing to neighbouring countries to save their lives with back at home crop fields not being worked with the result that hunger will continue to stalk innocent people who just a while ago thought they had created themselves a haven of peace by breaking away from the Sudan.

It therefore behooves on all peace-loving Zimbabweans and, ultimately on the government which has reportedly denounced tribalism, to make it absolutely certain that tribalists of whatever political or other ranking will find no breathing space, but will instead suffocate, in a society averse to tribal or ethnic machinations.

The success of this nation as a peaceful and law-abiding people, or its demise as corrupt or tribally divided, remains squarely on the shoulders and the hearts of each and every one who prides themselves on belonging in Zimbabwe.

Of course, God’s mercy and grace will always be visited upon those who regard other people as being equal before the eyes of our Creator in whose image and likeness human beings were created.

Thus, when children are quarried from their parents they should be raised with instruction to love one another and to know that anyone who acts against the State also acts against God.

The fear of God is paramount here as it begets the fear of the law and that of all evil including corruption, tribalism and other, negative isms that are detrimental to love, peace and stability in a nation by nourishing the animal in men.

No comments: