The issue of corruption is now at the centre of Zanu PF’s succession infighting with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) being turned into a battlefield, amid reports that party heavyweights in opposing factions are out to pull each other down for allegedly being corrupt.
EVERSON MUSHAVA/CHARLES LAITON
The fight has also claimed scalps at Zacc, with the arrest of the body’s chief executive officer Ngonidzashe Gumbo over allegations of swindling the commission of over $435 000.
Well-placed sources yesterday told NewsDay that three powerful ministers being targeted for investigations by Zacc believed they were being persecuted for belonging to a faction opposed to a rival one.
Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Transport minister Nicholas Goche and Mines minister Obert Mpofu – all Zanu PF politburo heavyweights — were the target of Zacc’s crackdown.
The sources said Kasukuwere believes a faction led by Vice-President Joice Mujuru was working with Zacc.
Repeated efforts to get comments from both Kasukuwere and Sylvester Nguni, Minister of State in Vice-President Mujuru’s Office, were unsuccessful.
Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly lead Zanu PF factions angling to succeed President Robert Mugabe once he leaves, although they have repeatedly denied harbouring presidential ambitions.
So hot is the issue that some Zacc commissioners are said to be contemplating quitting in protest over infiltration by politicians opposed to investigations.
Responding to the issue of the contentious search warrant that they could not successfully use to search the ministers’ offices, Zacc spokesperson Goodwill Shana told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that the anti-graft body did not secure the warrants to “pursue underhand and malicious investigations against certain organisations, their officials and respective ministries”.
The unfolding saga has seen the first real casualty at Zacc with Gumbo (50) — a former Senior Assistant Commissioner with the Zimbabwe Republic Police — remanded in custody to Monday next week by Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei for a determination on his bail application which was strongly opposed by prosecutor Michael Reza.
The former top cop is alleged to have authorised disbursement of various amounts into other people’s accounts from the $1,7 million which the government had provided Zacc for various projects.
Gumbo’s arrest came at a time when the High Court blocked Zacc investigators from conducting searches at National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation offices.
“As Zacc, we are not prompted by political considerations, but by reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed . . . the individual and political diversity of the commission would make a political sectorial agenda difficult to pursue or achieve,” Shana said.
Reports suggest that Zacc was now heavily divided with some commissioners claiming that their efforts to crack down on corrupt top Zanu PF officials were being frustrated by “sell-outs” in their midst who were allegedly leaking information to targeted party “bigwigs”.