Army angry with Mugabe, takes aim at G40 corrupt officials
By Tatenda Dewa | Harare Bureau |
A top military official, Douglas Nyikayaramba, on Monday came out guns blazing against lack of action on top officials accused of corruption and his statements imply anger among influential generals that their commander-in-chief, President Robert Mugabe, is letting the culprits loose.
Nyikaramba, a major general and army chief of staff, was giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Security in Harare.
He said top level public corruption was bleeding the economy and taking the nation backwards, becoming a national security threat in the process.
That guy knows his stuff, no doubt. He was at one time in charge of the Maguta command agriculture scheme and we heard that he diverted tonnes and tonnes of maize seed to Zanu PF supporters and God knows who else.
The result was that people were made the hungrier for it.
The issue, therefore, is that he was talking political and Mugabe has every reason to worry.
The tough talking Nyikayaramba said citizens expected “authorities” to take decisive action against corrupt officials, otherwise they might cause civil disobedience.
“Corruption is a cancer, which is taking the nation backwards, thereby causing insecurity to the nation. It is now a security threat because it is causing people to create mafias or alliances where if one is accused of being corrupt, he quickly asks for the help of other big names to protect him or her.
“The ordinary citizens expect authorities to address these issues, but then if they see nothing happening to the alleged criminals, they will end up being ungovernable and creating problems for the defence forces. Development is being derailed so that individuals can benefit at the expense of the whole nation,” he said.
The general complained that, with the army revenue base thin, civil unrest would stretch them to the limit if called to act.
His statements are telling, especially as they come at a time at least three senior Zanu PF government officials have been named in graft-related cases.
Jonathan Moyo, the Higher and Tertiary Education minister, is currently in the eye of a storm for siphoning millions of dollars from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) that falls under his ministry.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has named him together with his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, as having connived in illegally drawing money from the fund which is supposed to finance national skills development.
Moyo has been consistent in defending the alleged looting, insisting that it was necessary to divert the money to fund Mugabe’s birthday and Zanu PF activities.
With the raft of allegations against Moyo, many expected him to be brought before the courts and clear himself if he could.
So far, that has not happened, and that omission is what seems to have riled the likes of Nyikayaramba.
It is safe to assume that the general was not speaking alone as he is most likely to have received the blessings of Constantino Chiwenga, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander, and others.
It is also highly likely that the position that he stated in parliament was a subject for intense discussion at high-level forums such as the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which deals with issues of political and security interest.
All the generals sit in JOC, and that is worth noting.
There is no doubt Nyikayaramba was aiming his gun at Mugabe and other top political lieutenants.
Mugabe is reported to have stopped Moyo’s arrest when ZACC went with the police to the Zanu PF headquarters during a politburo meeting.
Instead, he is said to have promptly set up a Zanu PF committee to investigate allegations by Moyo that he was being targeted by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and other hawks opposed to the Generation 40 (G40) faction to which the minister belongs.
Also in that camp is Saviour Kasukuwere, the Zanu PF national commissar and Local Government minister, in addition to Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
Both have been defending Moyo’s diversion of ZIMDEF funds to the ruling party.
Mugabe has acknowledged rampant corruption in his government, but has not taken any action.
It is an open secret that ministers will be arrested only if that is done with Mugabe’s blessings, which he has not been generous with.
Moyo, a shrewd politician, must have seen that the only way to wiggle out of the messy accusations against him was to massage the president’s ego by funding his birthday celebrations and shouting loudly about his support for the 92-year-old to remain in power.
There is glaring contradiction in that, of course. Close to a decade ago, Moyo was rabid in his call for Mugabe to leave office, describing his continued stay as threat to national security.
He must have learnt that the easiest way to Mugabe’s heart is to grovel before him, knees on the hard floor and hands up in the air.
Nyikayaramba also made a thinly veiled reference to Kasukuwere.
Without naming names, he said some top officials were building posh suburb mansions with ill-gotten wealth.
“If ordinary people see that nothing is being done to corrupt individuals, that will lead to disgruntlement and eventually instability. Most of the people who are building mansions in mountains of posh suburbs in this country are evading tax, which is charged on capital gains, thus they find it easy to splash ill-gotten money on buildings with 50 or so bedrooms.
“If there are strict capital gains tax laws, people will not just splash money they will use it productively like starting companies, which will employ people and thereby benefiting the whole nation,” said Nyikaramba.
It is not a mere coincidence that Kasukuwere reportedly built a 50-bderoomed mansion in the plush suburb of Glen Lorne and many people wondered where he got the money to do that.
That is not all. Mugabe has openly accused Kasukuwere of selling residential stands meant for Zanu PF to a host of other people that include Walter Magaya, the leader of the Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries, Moyo himself and numerous other G40 tow-aways.
Yet Mugabe has not done a single thing about, and that must have made the generals angry.
The generals are sworn enemies of G40, and are largely in support of Team Lacoste, a Zanu PF faction led by Mnangagwa.
They have a good reason for doing that, considering that Mugabe’s wife, who has been linked to G40, openly accused them of trying to kill their son, Chatunga, and bombing their dairy farm.
Add to that the fact that there is no love lost between Moyo and Chiwenga who at one time were good friends till the army commander threw his weight behind Mnangagwa.
In the larger political scheme of things, it seems the writing is on the wall for Mugabe.
He has fooled all many a time, by pitting internal rivals against each other, but there seems to be growing impatience with him.
If the army connives with Lacoste ahead of 2018 to ensure Mugabe does not run again as G40 wishes so as to save its skin, the old president is finished! Nehanda Radio