By Richard Muponde
United States President Joe Biden’s administration is most likely to renew sanctions against senior Zanu PF and government officials as well as service chiefs after the release early this week of a damning report exposing “State capture” and grand corruption in the country, by South African publication, Maverick Citizen.
The publication named President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the kingpin of looting cartels while also indicting his close political and business associates.
Maverick Citizen, a supplement of the Daily Maverick newspaper in its 64-page report titled: Cartel Power and Dynamics in Zimbabwe, said the country may be losing up to US$5 billion annually due to operations of the cartels that now run its politics and economy.
The report singled out Mnangagwa as the principal cartel chief whose tentacles, it said, were spread across a wide range of sectors.
The report, which has since gained enormous international attention, on Thursday caught the eye of influential US Senator Jim Risch who said they were taking the corruption reports seriously, especially given that it came at a time the country reviews its sanctions regime.
The US traditionally renews its sanctions on Zimbabwe every first quarter of the year since 2002.
Risch, a Republican Senator who chairs the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted on Thursday that the report came at the most appropriate time given that the committee was starting to make considerations regarding the renewal of sanctions.
“State capture and corruption in #Zimbabwe continue to be a concern of mine. A timely report released by @dailymaverick exposes the destructive effects that elite cartels play in robbing the country’s future. Our partners, the Zimbabwean people, deserve better. #DemLoot,” he tweeted.
Lord Peter Hain, former British Labour MP and government minister also retweeted the report, saying: “Zimbabwe: Explosive cartel report uncovers the anatomy…@dailymaverick.”
Former South African opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane also tweeted: “This exposé by the @dailymavereick is very important for every African to read.”
MDC Alliance treasurer, David Coltart joined in the debate saying: “If you are puzzled why such a wealthy country, with such intelligent, well educated people can be so poor, then read this report published today in @dailymaverick. It explains how and why a network of cartels is plundering #Zimbabawe.”
The report argues that the 2017 military coup that removed the late former President Robert Mugabe was perpetuating the system albeit after changing a few individual beneficiaries.
The Zanu PF government has responded to the deepening and largely self-made socio-economic crisis in the country by clamping down on dissent, the report said. NewsDay