By Dr Masimba Mavaza | People who are condemning Chief Murinye are tarnishing the name of our country Zimbabwe and the name of our good president. By believing that Murinye was asking for a coup when he asked if people want Valerio Sibanda is to be requested to come and arrest those criminals surrounding the president, means that he was asking for a coup, is mischievous.
This thinking will be suggesting that there was a coup in Zimbabwe in 2017. There was never a coup in Zimbabwe. Instead the army came in to keep peace and arrest the thieves who were surrounding the president.
The same call will only scare the corrupt and cause of joy to the citizens. The Fight against corruption has huge significance in ensuring state security. Corruption endangers unimpeded functioning of public sector, weakens the public trust towards state institutions, and hinders democratic and stable development of the country.
Corrupted public servants represent potential targets of foreign special services and criminal groups. Hence, fight against corruption is the concern of state security. So to succeed in fighting corruption every individual must take part in this fight. We are all soldiers in the army, we have got to fight to the end.
One of the main priorities of the new dispensation is to prevent, detect and suppress malfeasance, conflict of interests in public service and corruption facts.
Corruption is very difficult to fight and the perpetrators of corruption are from the man in the street to very high offices.
There are no comprehensive statistics available with government official’s integrity, and there is not data on all criminal arrests of law enforcement officers in the country for corruption.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa considers corruption as a major challenge to its twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent of people in Zimbabwe.
Corruption has a disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable, increasing costs and reducing access to services, including health, education and justice. Corruption in the procurement of drugs and medical equipment drives up costs and can lead to sub-standard or harmful products. The human costs of counterfeit drugs and vaccinations on health outcomes and the life-long impacts on children far exceed the financial costs. Unofficial payments for services can have a particularly pernicious effect on poor people. Reality has shown that the poor pay the highest percentage of their income in bribes. the poor may even be preyed upon since they are seen as powerless to complain. Every stolen or misdirected dollar robs the poor of an equal opportunity in life and prevents governments from investing in their human capital.
Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. It is this trust which chief Murinye is trying to restore. Now the backlash Chief Murinye is getting is shocking and knee jerking. This is cause for concern across the nation,but particularly in contexts of fragility and violence, as corruption fuels and perpetuates the inequalities and discontent that lead to fragility, violent extremism, and conflict.
People who are blaming Murinye for asking the president to act have something they are hiding.
A political commentator and a specialist on Zimbabwean Current affairs MR Abedinigo Shumba said “ The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
The Zimbabwean Political landscape is watered by bootlicking and praise singing. It has become very difficult to become a whistle blower. There are people in ZANU PF who would rather see the party die than to tell the president the truth.
Many party stalwarts believe that the president is amused by praise singers and worshipers.
The biggest problem which hinders progress in the political landscapes is bootlicking, praise singing parrots who have nothing to contribute to the party but praises. Most high profile meetings will have no resolutions but praises and formation of new slogans. Sloganeering characterises most meetings, gatherings and funerals.
It is shameful that as an independent nation we attack Murinye for giving a warning.
Looking at Murinye’s video it is clear that the video was a reconstruction and whoever did it had his own agenda. Despite the stitching of the video nothing said by Murinye constitutes inciting a coup or anti government sentiments.
The issue emanates from a forty five minutes funeral speech by chief Murinye. The speech was captured in two minutes video which cut out a lot of statements and constructed a short one which was ambiguous vague and embarrassing.
The detractors tried to spin an otherwise good intended speech.
Murinye was addressing mourners at MR Gonye’s funeral who was a finance director in the Pension Fund. Murinye said Gonye started his position at work with Two hundred million dollars which he invested into billions. Murinye said MR Gonye presided over billions yet he had a modesty house. He said if it was some people they would have looted that fund to develop their homes. From there Murinye said there are some government officials who are near the president who are corrupt.
He then urged the president to get rid of them and crate a corrupt free environment.
He then issued a warning that if the president does not deal with those around him he will not make it in 2023.
This where the problem started. There are idiots who have lied to the president that 2023 is a foregone conclusion. They found Chief Murinye’s speech contradicting their lies and sought to dispute it. But they decided to make Murinye an enemy so that it’s easy to denounce him.
Furthermore Murinye asked a question “ Should we call Valerio Sibanda to come and arrest the corrupt people surrounding the President”. This is the question which made Vice President jump with anger.
But looking at the question it does not at all incite a coup. It will be vindictive for the people to crucify Chief Murinye over this question.
Politicians have a bond like no other – both to each other and their communities. Chiefs and Politicians are sworn to protect people against the horrible things of the world. But what happens when that bond is broken, and the officials aren’t the ones stopping crime but creating it? Sadly, there are plenty of examples of politicians and government officials who committed heinous crimes, and often the only reason these rogue politicians are caught is thanks to whistleblowers like Chief Murinye. These whistleblower should be counted among the most honorable and noble officers because of their dedication to justice. These anti-corruption people are against the misdeeds of their fellow officials and fought against those in the system when they see something wrong. Some of them are hailed as heroes, while the others paid dire consequences. Chief Murinye is being persecuted for simply sounding a warning. He is being persecuted for doing his job.
It’s a pity some chiefs in his province have found a chance to fight their ongoing wars. Now they have found a chance to give him a blow as he lie down nursing wounds caused by friendly fires fired by enemies within.
Many people seem to be loosing focus with these public threats coming out of the Vice Presidency. It is not his place, or the politicians place. Chiefs have the Constitutional authority to speak their minds.
During the operation restore legacy the chiefs met the General the now Vice President to demand answer to the letter they had written.
The Chief’s had written a letter to the new leaders of the country stating that “we hear you have taken over the country, Please explain why you did that and
Please explain what led up to this.
Please explain what you intend doing with this country now that you have obtained it,and Please explain what you intend to do with the civilian population and Please tell us what will happen to ex- president Robert Mugabe.
And indeed many other such questions.
For that is the role of Traditional Chief’s. It is to hold the government to account. It is to be independent as individual Chief’s and also as an institution. This
means that Chiefs must also hold all political parties to account. That also includes the Ruling party, Zanu PF and any other party. The Chief’s work in this regard is not confined or limited to traditional matters only.
When required Chief’s MUST give the government of the day advise and warn the government if it is putting the citizens at a disadvantage.
Chief Murinye of Masvingo spoke out about the state of looting and corruption in our current government. Many, many, many, many Chief’s are of this mind. Indeed many have been of this mind for sometime privately. On this occasion Chief Murinye, could no longer contain himself. Indeed it was bound to happen, soon or later.
What is evil is to try and turn what he said and make it appear as if as he maliciously and carelessly incite a coup.
It is those with dubious characters who are quick to condemn Murinye.
Chiefs have a key role to play in the fight against corruption. For governments to effectively tackle corruption we must focus on strengthening their three main functions: legislation, oversight and representation. When these are strengthened corruption reduces. Chiefs by their operation are an extended arm of the government.
Chiefs if given a chance can government to become better equipped to manage corruption. We should stress the importance of protecting whistle-blowers.
Chief Murinye must not be made to feel bad but encouraged to reveal the names of the corrupt ones.
In the fight against corruption, the role of chiefs is enormously important. Ideally, an institution which represents the people born of the culture and tradition from the people and acts for the people; he should have both primary interests and strong capacities in effectively fighting corruption. Nevertheless, instances many chiefs cease to perform this role, and quite often become ‘rubber-stamps’ due to internal political games. Moreover, some chiefs are very corrupt hence the vicious fight against Murinye by other chiefs. Some chiefs are actively participating in corruption directly or indirectly through their nominees and proxies. Certainly, this is not the right way to proceed.
Maintaining a strong rule of law does not necessarily come automatically. It is an everyday challenge. We are all called upon every day to uphold the rule of law when carrying out our duties. This is not always easy, especially in difficult economic times.
We are again expected to call out corruption when we see it being practiced.
Chief Murinye is being victimised and the truth is clear.
Let our chiefs be chiefs. Shun corruption and support the vision 2030.