By Tinomudaishe Chinyoka
For the record, and to be clear so that those who disagree with me aren’t confused: I will be voting for President Mnangagwa in 2023. And, boy am I glad that he doesn’t get to originate the list of commissioners for our corruption fighting body!
I was interviewed to become a Commissioner for the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC). This was after l has sued Parliament for attempting to conduct the interviews in an illegal manner.
Perhaps it was because of that lawsuit that l knew that those Parliamentarians, representing most of the top leadership of the MDC and an equal number of senior ZANU PF MPs, would never hire me. You don’t give a job to fight corruption to someone that has just accused you of legalizing corruption.
So in a way l was loose to speak without trying to impress anyone, much like that other interview for the low paying job that l really didn’t need but thought l would be better than what was on offer, but that a different story. I still do though.
So when those car allowance obsessed people who like to be called ‘Honourable’ despite being nothing of the sort decided that my name wasn’t good enough to forward without a disclaimer, I was elated.
They should be proud now, that Committee on rules and whatnot, because if they had appointed me a commissioner, l would today be resigning.
You see, ZACC, like the Human Rights Commission and the National Prosecution Authority, was meant to be one of those protective institutions that we can rely upon to check executive excess in the exercise of power. The citizen must feel confident that these institutions are free of political interference and actually do their job.
Now, this Mary Chiwenga thing (why is she suddenly Mary Mubaiwa I wonder), is just not kosher. If ZACC needed a Damascene moment, this was it, and they failed.
First, there are many citizens who have reported cases to ZACC months (and years) back. Nothing has happened. You call to check and are rudely told that it is being investigated. Now, when was the report against Mary Chiwenga filed? Can’t be weeks, the complainant wasn’t here until just last week, wasn’t he?
Second, where is the corruption? Oh no, don’t get me wrong, the whole sordid thing drips with corruption, but not at the Mary Chiwenga end of the spectrum. Why is a bank giving foreign currency to a housewife so that she might buy curtains, when industry can’t get forex to buy essential materials with which to manufacture life saving drugs?
What rate of exchange did the bank offer this housewife when it gave her money to buy top of the range vehicles? And, where did she get the money in the first place: and who knew she had it? Why didn’t they report her then?
And third, this nonsense about a wedding, how is that in any shape or form ZACC business? Where is the corruption? How is any of it even a crime? So a person tried to organize a wedding, how is that ‘anti-corruption’ business? Why waste resources meant to fight the corruption that’s leaving us without fuel or electricity and devoting them to the settling of domestic disputes?
And, didn’t we send high powered certificates to South Africa to exonerate a First Lady from crimes committed there? The diplomatic immunity thing is selective now? Really?
We have kids being born into the Stone Age in this country, kids growing without knowing basic things like microwave ovens and toast because power gets switched on at the witching hour and yet a bunch of overpaid commissioners and their staff think that we want to know how a customarily married woman tried to upgrade her marriage to the white people one? Like, honestly? We have run out of crimes to investigate? How about those at ZESA where we pay private school fees for children of PAs? How about that?
Institutions can’t work when those running them don’t know what they are doing. You can’t claim to be running an oversight commission and get yourself involved in so domestic a matter. It’s like what I told Susan when she asked: if I was made PG and proof came to my desk that Chamisa’s wife stole money at work, I would never prosecute.
I would instead talk to them and have the NGO do a private prosecution: sometimes the politics just can’t get you justice. Like now that the occupant of the ‘office of the Second Lady’ (but Mary wacho futi: why can’t everyone just be quiet like Bona?) is occupying prison: do we really think that she is a flight risk? With the entire resources of the government targeting her, where would she go?
So, why isn’t she on bail? Are we to think that some institutions will deal fairly when those having oversight are so warped in their thinking? Or is it possible that any judicial officer dealing with her case will wonder: if they can do this to the mother of their children, who am I to give her bail or an acquittal?
Good thing Parliament didn’t send my name to my beloved President. There would have been an awkward conversation today. Because, yes, if I had been made a ZACC commissioner I would be resigning today. The commission has failed the nation. Let’s have a new one.
Tinomudaishe Chinyoka is a qualified lawyer and social worker, living in Harare where he practices as an Advocate. He is a member of the ruling Zanu PF. Follow him on @TinoChinyoka