By Obert Gutu
Recent remarks by Vice–President Phelekezela Mphoko to the effect that the Zimbabwe Anti – Corruption Commission (ZACC) must be dissolved cannot go unchallenged.
ZACC is a Chapter 13 Constitutional commission whose main functions, according to Section 255 of the supreme law of the land, are to investigate and expose cases of corruption in the public and private sectors and also to combat corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and other improper conduct in the public and private sectors.
Mphoko’s weird and absurd call for the dissolution of ZACC is not motivated by good faith and/or any other such good-natured and patriotic intentions. In anything, the call for the dissolution of ZACC has been motivated by a thoroughly wicked, malevolent, capricious and venal intention to muzzle and incapacitate the corruption – fighting body in order to advance and placate certain factional agendas within the collapsing Zanu PF political edifice.
As such, Mphoko should be the last person to call for the dissolution of ZACC. His hands are extremely dirty and tainted because he should actually be investigated by ZACC for his alleged criminal activity of ‘’ordering’’ the release of incarcerated accused persons from police custody at Avondale Police station in Harare some few months ago.
Put bluntly, Mphoko has a prima facie criminal case for which he should be held accountable. He cannot seek to intimidate and bulldoze his way into the manner in which the ZACC carries out its investigations. This would be like Satan standing behind the pulpit of a Christian church and preaching the gospel of love and repentance.
Section 256 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly and unambiguously states that ZACC is an independent Commission that is not subject to the direction or control of anyone. Mphoko, therefore, has absolutely no business directing ZACC whom to or whom not to investigate.
As one of the two State Vice Presidents, we expect Mphoko to be familiar with the letter and spirit of the supreme law of the land. Alas, Mphoko seems to be absolutely ignorant of the manner in which ZACC should conduct its activities! The MDC is deeply appalled by this level of misguided arrogance and ignorance on the part of Mphoko.
Corruption is rampant and insipid in both the public and private sectors in Zimbabwe. Recently, the global anti–corruption agency, Transparency International, published a report that gave damning statistics about the levels of corruption in this country. Zimbabwe was ranked amongst the five most corrupt countries in the world that include Afghanistan and Venezuela.
As a social democratic political party anchored on the hopes and aspirations of the poor and downtrodden in society, the MDC has a zero tolerance policy towards corruption. We advocate for the capacitation and strengthening of all the corruption – busting functions of ZACC.
Instead of dissolving the ZACC, the MDC would want to see ZACC up its game by bringing to book all perpetrators of heinous acts of corruption in both the public and private sectors. There should be absolutely no sacred cows.
It is a public secret that well–placed politicians within the ruling party and other people linked to the establishment are actively involved in serious acts of very high level corruption. Some people have imported expensive Rolls–Royce motor vehicles into the country using the proceeds of illicit funds and ill–gotten wealth.
We have reports of some people who have gone on a property – buying spree in posh districts of South Africa as well as overseas. It is these kind of criminals, crooks and wheeler – dealers who must be investigated and brought to book by ZACC.
Zimbabwe is too rich to be poor. The faction–infested and collapsing Zanu PF regime cannot even account for the billions of United States dollars that were siphoned from the Marange and Chiadzwa diamond–mining areas.
Not too long ago, President Robert Mugabe himself publicly disclosed that at least US$15 billion worth of diamond proceeds could not be accounted for. It is in these circumstances that ZACC should have immediately sprung into action in order to thoroughly investigate what became of all this money from the sale of the country’s diamonds.
As it is now, ZACC is a weak and lame duck corruption–busting institution that has dismally and hopelessly failed to bring into fruition the investigation and eventual prosecution of any cases of high–level corruption.
The national economy is virtually comatose largely due to rampant and unchecked corruption. Zimbabwe is bleeding from a thriving illegal foreign currency market that is mostly driven by people who are highly placed in both the public and private sectors.
Precious minerals such as gold, platinum and diamonds are routinely being smuggled out of Zimbabwe through the use of highly sophisticated and politically well–connected international corruption webs and cartels. Where is ZACC whilst the country’s resources are being looted in broad daylight?
Zimbabweans have to wake up and smell the coffee. None but ourselves can set us free. For as long as corruption is not promptly identified, curbed and eliminated, Zimbabwe’s economy shall remain on life support and in the intensive care unit.
Obert Chaurura Gutu is the MDC National Spokesperson