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New dispensation rejects corruption

by Bevan Musoko
19 March 2019 | 735 Views
The advent of the new dispensation in November 2017 has seen a new impetus in the fight against the scourge of corruption. Right beginning with his inauguration speech on 24 November 2017, President Mnangagwa pledged to tackle corruption.   "Acts of corruption must stop. Where these occur, swift justice must be served. We have to aspire to be a clean nation, one sworn to high moral standards and deserved rewards. On these ideals my administration declares full commitment, warning that grief awaits those who depart from the path of virtue and a clean business."

In line with the President's pledge, several ZANU-PF and corporate sector bigwigs were arrested on various allegations of corruption. Among those arrested are former Cabinet Ministers Ignatius Chombo, Saviour Kasukuwere, Supa Mandiwanzira, Dr David Parirenyatwa, Walter Mzembi, ZESA CEO Josh Chifamba, Wicknell Chivayo and ZESA's Julian Chinembiri, all who are facing corruption allegations. Their cases are at various stages of prosecution, with Kasukuwere and Mzembi having fled the jurisdiction. It is unfortunate that Kasukuwere, Mandiwanzira and fugitive from justice, Prof Jonathan Moyo, are seeking to politicise the anti-corruption drive by claiming that their prosecutions are politically-motivated. Politics aside, it is on the basis of the allegations that have been laid on the table that there is reasonable suspicion that these politicians of yesteryear committed the crimes for which they were arrested. They should simply defend themselves in Court than to raise all sorts of spurious allegations.     

The arrest of the ZANU-PF senior members is testimony to the fact that the anti-corruption dragnet is blind to political affiliation. Even senior ZANU-PF member, Dr Parirenyatwa, who is a Central Committee member, is being prosecuted, thus demonstrating the President's zero-tolerance to the vice, irrespective of him being his political compatriot.

In a bid to energise the anti-corruption fight, President Mnangagwa has set up an Anti-Corruption Prosecutions Taskforce in his Office which is tasked with assisting the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in fighting the scourge. Through Statutory Instrument (SI) 212 of 2018, the President took it upon himself to administer the Anti-Corruption Act, Commissions of Inquiry Act, Emergency Powers Act, and the Prevention of Corruption Act, among others, in a dramatic demonstration of his commitment to see through the crusade against corruption. The taskforce is a specialised unit that is specifically focused on fighting corruption, without the distractions of other forms of crime. While anti-Government analysts like Dr Alex Magaisa have laboured to claim that the Unit is unconstitutional, it is positioned in such a manner that it seeks and secures authority to prosecute from the Prosecutor General, who is the custodian of all prosecutorial authority in the country.

What the President has simply done is to create and strategically position the anti-corruption taskforce on its mandate: fighting corruption.

The Constitution provides for an independent Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) which had been put in place. Unfortunately, that Commission, which was chaired by Dr Job Whabira, failed to appreciate the President's commitment to zero-tolerance, to the extent that it failed to exercise its functions to his satisfaction. Some of the Commissioners were accused of dubious conduct. The Commission had no choice, but to resign enmasse. This has afforded the President an opportunity to have a new Commission that shares his zeal in fighting the scourge. Currently, nominations for the new ZACC are underway, a process which is expected to usher in a new breed of individuals of integrity and clean track records. These are expected to compliment the President's vision in fighting the scourge.

The public may need to appreciate that fighting corruption is a complex and time-consuming undertaking, given the elaborate ways in which perpetrators manoeuvre to hide their evil acts. It is, therefore, expected that it will take some time for the crusade to bear fruits. Financial crimes, by their very nature, require skilled investigators and extra-territorial co-operation given the globalised world we live in. It therefore takes time and resources to successfully investigate and prosecute financial crimes. Notwithstanding these operational challenges, President Mnangagwa is committed to a corruption free Zimbabwe, hence his decision to beef up the country's justice delivery system capacity with the Anti-Corruption Taskforce.

Bevan Musoko Corruption Dispensation

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Source: Bevan Musoko


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