By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Zimbabwe has been plunged into a serious economic crisis caused by cartels that have captured every sector of the economy and people are frustrated, Prosecutor General, Kumbirai Hodzi has admitted.
Speaking in Bulawayo at a capacity building workshop on anti-corruption for the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) Economic Thematic Committee, Hodzi said these cartels are getting protection from institutions that should normally be fighting corruption.
“What we have in Zimbabwe is the problem of cartels who affect every sector of the society.
“We have got sections in the judiciary, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the National Prosecutors Authority and even from the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) who are controlled by cartels and manipulate investigations and this is pulling the country’s economy down,” said Hodzi.
“Manifestations of corruption are all around us. When you trace the reasons behind serious shortages of fuel, medicine and electricity that the country is experiencing at the moment, they all lead back to corruption by these cartels,” he added.
Hodzi said Zimbabwe is lacking the political will to fight corruption.
“We have been groping in the dark, we have been doing things the bad way in Zimbabwe hence the frustrations.
“We will fight corruption with all that we have. Failure is not an option and we are going double our efforts in making sure that we defeat it,” Hodzi added.
Meanwhile, main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) deputy spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka accused ZANU PF government of lying to the world that sanctions were worsening economic crisis, when corruption is at the epicenter of national rot.
“That the country’s PG would make such revelations exposes the octopus links that the criminal cartels have on State institutions, key among them the country’s Presidium.
“While Zanu PF has gone hoarse lying to the world that sanctions are the problem in the country, recent revelations by Zanu PF senior officials, including the startling admission by the PG himself, have exposed the fact that at the heart of the country’s rot is the unbridled culture of sleaze, avarice and corruption by the well-heeled and the politically connected,” Tamborinyoka said.
Tamborinyoka added that ZANU PF and its cartels were the main cause of country’s economic mess.
Last week, Zanu PF party suspended youth league officials Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu after they held a press conference where they took a dig at business tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei, Billy Rautenbach and other top Zanu PF officials for alleged corruption.
This comes at a point when Zimbabwe is experiencing drought, compounded by an economic crisis characterised by power-cuts of up to 18 hours daily, acute foreign currency shortages, runaway inflation of over 400% and an angry populace and agitated workforce
On Monday, MDC vice president and legislator Tendai Biti on Monday accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of positioning his allies, particularly Tagwirei, so that they capture the country’s Finance ministry.
Biti also accused Mnangagwa of being the chief patron of all cartels he alleges have taken over the economy.
On Monday, Biti told the media that Zanu PF was no longer able to control entities like Sakunda, Trafigura , Billy Rautenbach , Van Hoogstraten and John Bredenkamp due to their strong links with the current political leadership.
“I never thought we could get to a situation where, as ordinary Zimbabweans, we could say Mugabe was better.
“But Zimbabweans are saying so because the level of looting under Emmerson Mnangagwa is unprecedented
“I have called the new government the archbishop of stealing; the deacons of stealing.
“The economy has been taken over by cartels in the form of Kuda Tagwirei; in the form of Sakunda; in the form of Trafigura; in the form of Billy Rautenbach; in the form of Van Hoogstraten,; in the form of John Bredenkamp and other cartels that are running this economy,” Biti said.
He also said these cartels were responsible for the skyrocketing rates and parading of cash in the streets.
“They are controlling the United States dollar market; they are controlling the market for fuel; they are controlling minerals, particularly gold, platinum and chrome,” he added.
“They are controlling Command Agriculture; it’s sad and they are also controlling the Finance ministry,” Biti alleged.
The statement by the former Finance minister during the Government of National Unity in 2009 that Tagwirei had taken over the Finance Ministry implies that the current Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is a mere placeholder.
“The Ministry of Finance has been taken over by those cartels; Kuda Tagwirei has taken over the Ministry of Finance in Zimbabwe,” he added.
Biti said it was a shame that the ruling party goes to Parliament to seek forgiveness of US$10.8 billion that senior Zanu PF officials stole, especially from the Command Agriculture Programme.
“In 2017, $2.9 billion was stolen outside Parliament.
“In 2018, $3.5 billion was also stolen outside Parliament.
“As I am talking to you, there is a Bill pending before Parliament called the Financial Adjustment Bill, and in this Bill, they are seeking condonation for stealing $10.8 billion; it’s a shame.
“Over $2 billion has gone to Kuda Tagwirei in the form of money for fuel; in the form of Command Agriculture and where you have a budget of $4.5 billion and one person is getting more than half of that, then surely, he is now the Minister of Finance himself,” he added
Biti said Zanu PF was not able to fight corruption, adding he felt sorry for “kids” such as Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu for being persecuted after they raised issues of corruption last week at a Press conference in Harare.
“Look at what they did to these two kids, Matutu and Tsenengamu.
“These two kids raised an issue of corruption and they mentioned people who are not members of Zanu PF.
“Tagwirei is not a member of Zanu PF, but the next thing is they are suspended.
“Why? Because the godfathers of corruption are in Zanu PF and Emmerson is the godfather of corruption; and we say in MDC, you cannot send a mosquito to cure malaria.
“It’s not possible. Zanu PF cannot deal with corruption because they are corruption personified,” the former Finance minister added.
Biti urged Zimbabwe to go into the streets to show their displeasure at the capture of government by cartels.
“The people of Zimbabwe must know that they have a duty to defend themselves.
“And the people of Zimbabwe must know that unless we deal with the challenge of politics, challenge of stealing that is taking place (we will get nowhere).
“Let’s all remove our jackets and get onto the streets without violence.
“Then as lawyers, we take the cases to court to fight the cartels; then as Members of Parliament we take the fight to Parliament.
“But ordinary Zimbabweans, we must go into the streets and demonstrate, expressing our anger,” he said. Nehanda Radio