The European Union’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, says corruption is destroying the country. He said the international appeal for a couple of hundred million dollars to prevent mass starvation would have been met by only a fraction of the stolen money.
Mr Olkkonen told Newsday: ‘Corruption has had a huge effect; you have people talking about hundreds of millions, even billions, in terms of the Auditor-General’s report’.
It emerged at a parliamentary hearing this week that the Treasury is unable to account for more than a billion dollars paid under the Command Agriculture programme which is supposed to support farmers with irrigation and inputs.
The money was paid to Sakunda Holdings, a company run by the ubiquitous Kudakwashe Tagwireyi, who is said to be a key player in the country’s extortionate fuel supply cartel and a conduit for funds to the army and Zanu PF bigwigs.
The extent of state capture in Zimbabwe is shown by Energy Minister Fortune Chasi’s order to the country’s power supply company to reverse a decision to cut off the farms of Zanu PF leaders, including Mugabe’s Gushungo dairy farm, for unpaid bills. The minister said that, given the drought and food shortages, now was not the time to disconnect any farmer.
After nearly 40 years in power Zanu PF leaders have become accustomed to living off the state. They have never had to pay their bills. Like former Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, who is being sued for failing to pay a $311,000 electricity debt. The matter is yet to be set down for a hearing but no doubt Comrade Sekeramayi is busy dealing with ‘the drought and food shortages’.
Observers may well conclude that, with Generals Chiwenga and Moyo still off ill, there is certainly something poisonous going on in Zimbabwe. President Mnangagwa, himself a victim of Gushungo ice cream, may again have to stop his cavalcade to buy a safe burger on the street.
- Last Sunday Vigil activists (Chido Makawa, Daizy Fabian, Dennis Benton, Ephraim Tapa, Esther Munyira, Hazvinei Saili, Heather Makawa, Isabell Gwatidzo, Margaret Munenge, Molly Ngavaimbe, Patricia Masamba, Rose Benton, Simbarashe Jingo and Theodora Mandishaya) attended spent a fundraising barbecue at Frinton-on-Sea. It was a very hot day and swimming in the sea was wonderful. But we were phoned by anxious relatives at the end of the day – Frinton had hit the headlines with reports of something causing swimmers to have coughing fits. Fortunately our group was unaffected. Special thanks to Daizy for salads, sadza and providing the barbecue stand, to Hazvinei for salads, to Simba for buying the meat and to Esther for organising the day.
- It was good to have with us today David Wilkins, a courageous blind journalist, who has supported the Vigil over the years. He baked us some tasty olive bread.
- Congratulations to Esther Munyira who has been appointed a Vigil co-ordinator. She has worked tirelessly organising recent events such as the walk on 27th July which was such a financial success and the beach outing to Frinton.
- Thanks to those who helped set up the front table and put up the banners today: Nathan Chiyanja, Beaulah Gore, Heather Makawa, Dambudzo Marimira, Patricia Masamba, Farai Mutumburi, Hazvinei Saili, Pearl Shambare and Ephraim Tapa. Thanks to Hazvinei, Patricia and Philip Maponga for looking after the front table, to Heather, Farai and Tapiwa Muskwe for handing out flyers, to Hazvinei for drumming and to Hazvinei and Heather for photos.
- For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimb88abwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
FOR THE RECORD: 16 signed the register.