Source: Corruption impedes recovery, not citizen impatience – NewsDay Zimbabwe
develop me Tapiwa Gomo
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube seems to be coming to terms with the realities of the institution he has accepted to serve.
I am sure by now he has learnt that Zimbabwe’s lack of economic growth is not because there is a shortage of good ideas and resources. There is a depraved attitude that permeates from the political leadership that continues to undermine progress.
The level of selfishness and greed stinks. His opinion editorial in The Herald of May 3 speaks volumes of some of his frustrations, though he chose to be frugal in pin-pointing the real
stumbling blocks to achieving his reforms.
His attempt to paint a positive economic picture based on the implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme is undermined by his attribution of the slow progress or lack,
therefore, to natural disasters, external economic factors and what he terms “restricted access to international financial markets”, which in my view means sanctions. These factors are
beyond his government’s control and yet he calls for patience and discipline among suffering and frustrated Zimbabwe. What happened to working with what you have in order to achieve
what you want?
I guess Ncube is aware that the real impediments to economic growth are some of his counterparts who reportedly demand huge kickbacks from potential investors. And the economy cannot
grow if those responsible for facilitating investment are throwing spanners in the works. He also knows that it is the same people who have the mastered the art of political
indiscipline that have created uncertainty in the country to the extent that even local investors do not have confidence to keep their money in the country.
Corruption, too, continues to bleed the country of its resources, diminishing chances of economic revival. This is where discipline is required than asking people, who have endured two
decades of hunger and suffering, to continue to be patient and disciplined. No matter how excellent one is in economics, you cannot rule out the basic fact that it is economic and
political confidence plus opportunities that attract investment. And investment breeds industrialisation, which is the engine of economic growth.
Without these, any talk of creating employment opportunities and economic growth is a white lie. Some investors consider Zimbabwe a high risk investment climate because the political
and economic environment does not inspire confidence, which is a threat to investment and their capital. Investors prefer to put their money where they are guaranteed of present and
long term stability, which is the precursor for returns.
We can faff about patience and discipline among the suffering Zimbabweans, when the real problem is our politicians and the environment they have created, particularly those in power
today. Revelations from some of the parliamentary portfolio committees’ investigations on the mismanagement of parastatals point to the involvement of senior politicians behind the looting.
This is evident from the arrogance with which some of the senior management of those parastatals have approached these committees. Some of them have admitted before the parliamentary
portfolio committees that they cannot respond to certain questions because that would implicate senior people. And that is supposed to be right.
It is that growing impunity by those in public service, whose duty is to protect and manage national resources with modesty, accountability and transparency, that has eroded confidence.
There is a serious lack of honesty on matters related to corruption. In public arenas, politicians sound determined to weed out corruption and yet their threats amount to nothing.
Speaking in his special Independence Day interview with the State broadcaster, President Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted that, he “now realise(s) that corruption is deep-rooted. I thought that by pronouncing that let’s fight corruption those who are corrupt will fear and stop; it’s not like that. It’s so rooted that you have to fight it from A to Z. (In) most systems, structures and institutions, there is an element of corruption.”
He added that there is corruption within the police force and the prosecuting authority. It is good that the President is aware, but sad that even with that level of detail at his disposal, no one in these institutions has been arrested. In addition, he did not assure the nation that he will deal with these issues decisively.
Maybe corruption is a hot potato. If not, why is it that we do not see the authorities acting when serious cases of corruption are raised? Most of the high-profile corruption cases have been acquitted and the reason for this is that, as some would argue, convictions would implicate the powerful behind the accused. Similarly, cases raised by the various parliamentary portfolio committees have not been pursued further for unknown reasons.
Political activists are, meanwhile, traced and apprehended easily and sent to jail for expressing an opposing view, while those who sabotage the economy and cause poverty are left to walk freely.
These situations are enough evidence to suggest that the threats we hear from those who lead us are nothing, but political grandstanding, despite that corruption continues to undermine their own efforts to rebuild the economy and country.
Once there is political will to weed out corruption by the political leadership, the fight against corruption will be won, Ncube’s ideas will see the light of the day and investment will grow — opening up employment opportunities. That day will mark the birth of a new Zimbabwe ready to unleash its potential giving hope to its millions of disparate citizens.
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