By Patrick Guramatunhu- “The achievements scored so far by President Emerson Mnangagwa’s New Dispensation have raised a ray of hope that Vision 2030 is indeed possible, more so if unity of purpose prevails in the country,” claimed Grace Chekai in a Bulawayo 24 article.
“Inaugurated as the President of Zimbabwe on 24 November 2017 after the late former President Robert Mugabe had stepped down, President Mnangagwa promised Zimbabweans that brick by brick and stone upon stone, the New Dispensation would rebuild the country which had been in the doldrums for almost two decades.”
Zimbabwe’s economy is not emerging from the doldrums and is, instead, sinking even deeper and deeper into the abyss.
When Mnangagwa got into power after the 2017 military coup, he was right in focusing all his regime’s effort in attracting foreign investors and lenders as the only way the country would revive its comatose economy. “Zimbabwe is open for business!” was the New Dispensation’s clarion call and its flagship policy.
Come 15 November 20202, it will be exactly three years since the military coup, and the expected flood of investors has not happened. “Zimbabwe is open for business!’” is well and truly dead in the water. If the truth be told, the policy was doomed to fail because it was based on the lie the New Dispensation was opening the country for business when it was doing no such thing.
Mnangagwa promised the New Dispensation will end the scourge corruption; he did not. He promised to hold free and fair elections, yet stubbornly refused to implement even one token reform and went on to blatantly rig the July 2018 elections.
Zimbabwe is still a pariah state ruled by corrupt, incompetent and vote rigging thugs; just as it was during Mugabe’s days. All this talk of New Dispensation is just empty rhetoric. And investors and lenders are a shrewd and savvy lot, they saw through all this New Dispensation, “Zimbabwe is open for business!”, etc. for what it is – just bullshit!
True enough, Zimbabwe can bankroll its own economic recovery. The late Zimbabwe dictator, Robert Mugabe, admitted the country was “swindled out of US$15 billion in diamond revenue alone!” He never arrested any of the swindlers nor recover one swindled dollar. Mnangagwa has not done any better either.
“Let me be very clear. If you engage in or promote corruption, you will be arrested and prosecuted. There are no excuses for corruption. No one is above the law,” twittered Mnangagwa.
This is just another rhetorical bullshit! What law? In Zimbabwe, corruption has been institutionalised; both parliament and cabinet are aware and have approved the wholesale looting of the nation’s resources.
A 2012 parliamentary committee led by, now late, Edward Chindori Chininga shed some light on why corruption in the diamond industry was so rampant – there are no record of who the operators and their local partners are, no record of the quantity and quality of diamonds mined, no record of who bought the diamonds and how much they paid, etc., etc.
Both Mugabe and now Mnangagwa has never arrested any of the diamond swindlers because the swindlers were allowed to disregard all the laws and practices governing all other normal business operations. Zanu PF cabinet had approved looting and parliament itself has been aware of this for donkey years and has done nothing to stop it.
In Zimbabwe, corruption is rampant! It has been legalised and institutionalised, hence the reason it is now damn near impossible to uproot, at least not as long as Zanu PF remains in power.
“In the journey to an upper middle income economy, President Mnangagwa has undertaken to deal with corruption and effect institutional reforms, empowering the youths and women as well as prioritising infrastructure development among other sectors,” continue Chekai.
So after three years of the New Dispensation even a Zanu PF apologist like Grace Chekai, with the gift of seeing imaginary signs of economic recovery, had no choice but content with “Mnangagwa has undertaken to deal with corruption”. She did not dare say he had DELT much less ENDED corruption because the stake contrast with the reality on the ground would have been blindingly obvious.
Since the 2017 military coup, the Zimbabwe National Army and its Russian partners, one of the established diamond mining partnership, have signed a new agreement to mining Platinum. The same, no records kept, rules will apply.
Two months ago, former Minister of Health, Obadiah Moyo, was named in a US$60 million Drax scandal. The Minister has since lost his job. The scandals involving Zanu PF bigwigs usually come to nothing and, signs are, this too will fizzled out particularly since one of Mnangagwa’s sons has been fingered.
It is widely believed that as much as 75% of Zimbabwe’s gold is being smuggled out of the country. Last week Henrietta Rushwaya, a Zimbabwean businesswoman was arrested at the airport and accused of trying to smuggle 6 kg gold worth US$ 330 000.
Rushwaya’s alleged accomplice Gift Karanda has reportedly told the Police the gold belonged to Mnangagwa’s wife and her her son. The First Lady and the son have denied having anything to do with the case. Nothing new there!
President Mnangagwa was one of the senior Zimbabwean leaders named in the UN report accused of looting diamonds and other resources from the DRC. He denied the looting. Sadly, so far at least, he was never brought before any court of law to see if he would still deny it under oath.
However, there is no denying that corruption is as rampant under Mnangagwa as it was under Mugabe. And, as long as Zanu PF remains in power there will be no chance of ending it since those in high office are the Godfathers of corruption. To end corruption we must end Zanu PF’s iron grip on power; we must implement the democratic reforms to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
Our fight for economic recovery will only start after the fight for free, fair and credible elections and good governance is won and secured. There will be no meaningful economic recovery whilst Zimbabwe remains a pariah state ruled by corrupt, incompetent, vote rigging and murderous thugs. None!