After appointing Cabinet last week President Robert Mugabe has begun making moves to make sure the government works and get the people that he has entrusted with running the country to deliver.
He has put aside his passionate personal hatred for Western countries for the good of the country — declaring he would push for normalisation of relations and get into economic engagement with his erstwhile enemies.
This realisation that arrogance and stiff-necked obduracy does not pay and can only harm his country further is highly commendable. While it is true that the East is now a major economic world power, it would be foolhardy to seek to turn one’s back on the West. Fact of the matter is that the East itself is looking West while the West too is looking East in this global village. All of Africa is looking both East and West just as the rest of the world looks to Africa.
So, it is only a fool that would expect to benefit from squatting alone in some corner, stubbornly looking in one direction because of some ill-conceived ego or misplaced pride. You cannot be a good father that insults his neighbours to whom he turns to the following morning asking for food for his starving family.
And, to make sure the people he has put in Cabinet do not continue to consider corruption as “business as usual”, Mugabe has stood firm against the vice. On the day he swore-in Cabinet, the President said, much as he did not condone corruption, it was difficult to point out where the vice is and to uproot it because the rotten officials were often too clever to get caught.
He has, however, shown he is determined to do away with the rot by making reality the establishment of the National Prosecuting Authority and openly declaring war on corruption.
“My government will exercise zero tolerance to the scourge of corruption,” he said. “The composition of the Anti-Corruption Commission will also be aligned to the new Constitution, while anti-corruption commissioners will be required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and to also publicly declare their personal interests.”
We know it is almost an impossible feat to clean government of corruption, but there is evidence now of genuine attempts to clampdown on the vice. There are hardcore corruption masters in the Cabinet that Mugabe has appointed and even were he to take them one by one every morning washing corruption smudges off them, his present Cabinet troops can never be squeaky clean. Corruption has become a form of life to a good number of them.
But if he keeps the momentum, cracks the whip the way he appears determined to, and name and shame the rotten crooks in public as he did on Tuesday, then his efforts will go a long way in taming our wild looters and plunderers.
Talking about the venom he spewed at the Tuesday luncheon, dealing blinding blows to corrupt officials in his party, President Mugabe may just have opened a Pandora’s box. The names mentioned in his angry corruption exposure could just be little fish while the amount involved, $6 million is likely to turn to be nothing but petty cash, compared to the real money that we may soon hear about.