Looting clothed in sheepskin

The exposure of mega-salaries earned by top managers and executives in quasi-governmental institutions betrays well thought-out schemes to enrich corrupt cliques that are politically connected. These cases should not be seen in isolation lest we fail to see the forest on the landscape of corruption.

Guest Column by Kamurai Mudzingwa

A close examination of what is happening in this country reveals a disturbing trend where corrupt schemes are clothed in legitimate activities. The unbelievable salary perks betray a job-contract kind of scheme where looting is carefully disguised as legal perks in one’s contract.

But the question that readily comes to mind is — Is it possible that those in higher offices who either approve such exorbitant perks or turn a blind eye on them benefit nothing? For the resultant perks mean that their subordinates would earn much, much more than they.

Logic tells me that this is not possible. The CEOs and their contracts are fronts in a grand scheme of things. Former State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo in an interview with Southern Eye recently said it was difficult to deal with the rot exhibited by parastatal managers because ministers in the parent ministries would intervene.

He stated that parastatals, through management decisions, pamper the ministers with goodies such as luxury cars. If we take these visible goodies as microcosmic, then we may ask: What exactly takes place behind the scenes? We should remember that a few years ago the once vibrant Ziscosteel was looted by top, (and I mean top) politicians in government through its managers until it succumbed to bankruptcy. So the job contracts are part of well thought-out schemes and if logic be applied, the managers and CEOs are just like the biblical Lazarus at the looting table.

While job-contract schemes are as subtle as “tender schemes” there are those that are clear to the public and they are arrogantly perpetuated. Two schemes come to mind: roadblocks and tollgates.

At face value, roadblocks are mounted to weed bad elements from the roads and to save lives. But it is now a public secret that they are simply a money-making scheme as the ZRP officers have been converted into “tax collectors”. Most of the cash collected at these numerous roadblocks does not go to Treasury but to Police General Headquarters and the tickets issued out clearly indicate that.

It is not surprising therefore to note that the police now measure their success on the roads by the number of tickets issued, not by phenomena such as reduction of accidents or the reduction of unroadworthy vehicles on the roads. While we are aware of the corruption at roadblocks, we should not fail to go beyond them and ask where the thousands of dollars collected and logged on tickets go to.

We don’t see any visible improvement in the ZRP in terms of police officers’ accommodation, transport to attend crime scenes or computerisation of their operations among other things.

We now see the most junior police officers driving flashy Japanese cars that are not commensurate with their salaries. These are the “rewards” from the roadblocks. But if logic be applied, would the top cops allow a situation where their juniors enrich themselves while they contently survive on a cop’s salary? Obviously such thinking would be fallacious.

The junior officers are the Lazaruses in this set-up feeding from the crumbs off the multi-million dollar roadblock scheme. One or two junior officers are sacrificed to pacify the public as a way of showing that the “ZRP does not tolerate corruption”. What does the ZRP do with the thousands, if not millions collected every day? Who is benefiting from this scheme?

Any right thinking Zimbabwean would also wonder what happens to the thousands collected by Zinara. Thousands of dollars are collected at tollgates every day and Zinara has also come up with a ridiculous vehicle weighting system to collect more cash from the public. Ironically, we do not see any improvements of the roads that tally with the cash collected. Where is the money going to?

We hope Zinara officials and CEO are not getting obscene perks that allow them to live a pothole-free kind of life while we drive on pothole-infested roads. We fail to connect the action (revenue collection) to the result (improved roads).

But it is the land-baron scheme that has shaken the urban and peri-urban population to its core. Council officials and a few of their friends grabbed State land, divided it into residential plots and sold it at exorbitant prices to desperate home seekers.

The house waiting lists were thrown away with the garbage. The land barons had free reign, parcelling out housing stands in prohibited areas such as wetlands and areas reserved for other purposes.

The irony is that houses that were built on prohibited or unsuitable land face demolition, but the land barons who benefited from the scam are scot free.

But who was backing them? Surely we cannot be convinced that those in high offices were not aware of the land barons scheme. We can safely conjecture that if the land barons, who are at the lower end of the pecking order made away with thousands, if not millions, their political allies in high places who offered them impunity got away with murder.

But the tender scheme is the most embarrassing one as it involves foreign companies. It even drew the attention of former South African President Thabo Mbeki who told President Robert Mugabe that his ministers were seeking bribes from foreign investors who want either to do business or win tenders in this country.

We have heard how some ministers demand a standard 10 million-dollar bribe. In most cases it is the small fish like former ZMDC chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa who are targeted for exposure. The Masimirembwas in such scheme of things only get the crumbs from the diamond table.

The point is that if we look around in almost all our government and quasi-governmental institutions, we discern some kind of competition to outdo each other in terms of creating money-spinning schemes for the benefit of individuals.

31 Comments

  1. Explains why everytime Police buy cars for their top perkers, one Merc is given to Minister and Perm Sec.

    Since budget for Police does not include buying cars for ministry officials it is clear these presents are meant to make the officials see “nothing” amiss in the glaring corruption in the ZRP.

    As long as the Permanent minister of Home Affairs gets his share of roadblock spoils, then kiss accountability goodbye.

  2. GOOD ARTICLE .RAMBAI MAKASHINGA MUCHIBUDISA HUORI HWESE.

  3. the big fish rots from the head downwards

  4. One of the best articles ever on corruption I have read. Saying it as it is.
    The corruption culture has been systematicaly forced on the nation and it is sad that it will take two generations, that if it has got the right leadership to do so.
    I am of the opinion that our salvation is in God. If we can not turn away from our sins, the chances are not there at all to become a normal nation once again.

  5. At least this is some positive analysis from a a guest column, rather than the Matenga hogwash.
    What the columnist failed to mention is that Gorden Moyo was the Minister responsible for Parastatal and State Enterprises, it therefore follows that he is talking from experience when he said Ministers are pampered with goodies and luxury cars. He for sure is one of the beneficiary, and you can’t leave the name Shamu and Obert Dumbuguru. That GNU was a stinking thing, That is why the other party was fighting so hard to avoid elections, it was because they were
    part of a corrupt syndicate and enjoying the fruits of corruption.

    1. @reason- For the first time, I find myself in agreement with you. Moyo must not think we are all idiots, the ZESA fell under Mangoma an MDC minister, PSMAS fell under Madzore, NSSA fell under Mpariwa..so trying to use this as some kind of brush to tar ZANU is misplaced. ZANU has its own faults but the MDC must pretend to be squeaky clean on this issue because they were NOT. Like I have said elsewhere..Moyo should have the schedule of these salaries why does he not ‘leak’ it to the press now. All these wafer thin shuffling of fault elsewhere when it should be at this door as he was Para Minister makes him come out like a confused lout trying to cover up for his glaring failures! Lets put this into perspective before we lose momentum, this is neither an MDC or ZANU issue it is about thieves who should be held to account period.

      1. reason and falcon. Dont say things without a good analysis. these parastatals did not fall during the GNU. the y fell long bek before that government. was mdc part of those governments???

  6. Roughly, i think each and every policeman tickets/receives $10 on average after every 10 seconds between 6am and 6pm from roadblocks mounted in busy roads/ highways that link the city and residential areas.

  7. This is a great article.Indeed one wonders how many millions could a general in ZNA and CIO directors are earning, besides the mines and farms which they had grabbed.Unless there is a revolution people of this country will be sucked to death by these Zanupf goblins

  8. Kwasara ku ma chechi uko kunongo flashwa-flashwa mari ichinzi yaita zvekunyuka kubva mumapipi . Chokwadi chichabuda pachena kuti inombobvepi mari iyi. The chickens are coming home to roost. I think the current rot in all spheres of the economy finances mapipi emari anoitwa aya. Gore rino.

  9. The higher the salaries and benefits the bigger & deeper the pot-holes in our streets. In Chitungwiza Makoni shopping center roads are now a nightmare. All road intersections in the town have deep gulleys. Learner drivers are now taught how to successfully drive around potholes rather than on which side one must drive on. It doesn’t matter now , so long you arrive at your destination plus a wrecked suspension,bumpy ride headache and slashed tyres.

  10. tumbura tigoche

    kusvika riinhi vachidya nyika namafuta ayo takatarira? tinongodya nhoko dzezvironda tichingoti vakaipa. zvimwe zvinoda action munoziva? dai varwi verusununguko vaingotaura kuti bhunu rakaipa pasina kurwa tingadai tichiri kutongwa navo vachena. zvavo ma arab akazvisunungura kubva mujoko rehudzvinyiriri

  11. no 1 will come n fit these monsters.its us zimbos who can stop the looting.its us zimbos who can unite n stop th demolitions of our houses.

  12. Editor this is good article not the ones your staff gives us everyday. Wish all your reporters could emulate Mugzingwa. I agree with reason and falcon. The MDC cannot absolve themselves from this rot. They should have leaked all that was bad when they where still in govt. They cannot pretend like they dont practise the leaking game look they leaked thier own Mangoma letter to Tsvangirai. They didnt want to spoil the party as they where also benefitting. Dont forget Tsvangirayi himself double dipped when he bought the highlands house

  13. A good article and I think now media is now doing the best in fighting against corruption .Media was quite all along ,but tell you wat ,if you this song everyday about corruption they will do something, take for eg Chombo is doing whatever he wants to cover up his corruption, sing about his things you will notice his space, corruption,corruption,corruption

  14. @falcon and @reason what you fail to realise is those ministers you mention were not powerful enough to enforce and expose such dubious activities without a backlash. You see falcon, my friend I can’t imagine the terror that would had fell on those Ministers had they attempted to expose the corrupt activities by certain ministers. Just a few months back you remember what happened to Sukai Tongogara, the daughter of Magama when her ZACC tried to ivestigate Goche,Kasukuwere and Mpofu. All those Zimbabweans interested in seeing coruption be done with listen crefully to what I am saying. Until and unless we deal with the security sector in our country we stand no chance here. As long as CIOs, Police and the Army are getting crumbs from their party, we stand no chance. Wehave had many cases of Zimbabweans who have tried to expose such corrupt cases who ended up losing their lives. This is where our main problems start. The ministers in government will loot as long as they have the army and CIOs to hunt down critics. This is not an MDC, ZANU pf thing, it is a Zimbabwean thing. As long as I have some connections I get away with corruption and if you attempt to expose me, watch your back.We need to fucs our energies on that.Tsvangirai should have during the time of the NGU fought for this. In ZANU PF, decisons are made by the Army, MIU, CIOs and SAZ. These are not patriotic organisations,but rather evil machines mean to kill, murder torture and burn reasoning Zimbabweans. I don know maybe you have better explanations, but I’m convinced this where our problems lies. If these were not politically affiliated, even manyemwe arikuitwa nana Chombo pasina, even our coutrs would be just.All these thieving Ministers do what they do because they are backed by the greedy Army chiefs, evil CIOs, dull and poor police, unrepentant SAZ and the ever aware MIU. unlees someone fwith guts fro the Army, CIO and MIU say this is too much, we stand no chance.Even, the president is aloof about all these scandals all in the name of ” it destroys the part”, But whats more important ta mere political party and a country. They are not patriotic, but greedy, evil and unrepentant and mischievious and devious evils seeking to line their pockets at the expense of the nation.In other words, their corrupt, evil and murderous ways are hidden under the facade of sovereignty and patriotism.They tell us we”re sellouts, when we seek the truth and justice. They are not patriotic in the true sense of the word, but rather are much concerned with continous plunder and theft since they know we can’t do aything as long as they sent their CIOs and army to kill andmurder us when we complain.Our hope lies with God Zimbabwe, not these useless, merciless and greedy vampires.But cheer up, their day of reckoning will come, it maybe lae but it will sureky come and when it comes watch the space.

  15. the editor is an idoit

  16. Mupinyu Wasvotoka

    Shuwa tiri pamumvuri wemuroyi as a country. And to put Luxon (who probably was the Under-carpet-Sweeper-in-chief in the Dube board) is more like kukotamira museve wakatemba chamupupuri. Ko UZ has been churning out hundreds of MBA graduates with many years of corporate experience but tongoita handpick from within? Why is ZANU PF so afraid of external professionals or paching from Private institutions . Why recycle when there are so many other options . The issue is ZANU PF has been looting these quasi-govt institutions with the likes of Dube, Mahachi , Muchechetere as the “Ball” in the bhora-mugedhi setup.. Its ZANU PF who has been using these Dube, Mahachi OBJECTS as conduits for looting the parastatals and they will Protect the “objects” or the Current Setup ” one way or the other. To put it satirically: Dube is a Frog. Zembe is a Frog but a frog with Lipstick.

  17. KO MUMA PRIVATE KAMBANIZI MAKAMIRAWO SEI

  18. Handei tione! Ko vaNyagumbo vakafireiko chokwadi. If ever he had known what it would be like today he will still be alive. Zvotodadisa kuita corruption these days. Hapana achine concience at all.

  19. Asi ukawona koririsa, ziya kuti kangoma kaya koda kuparuka!!

  20. The majority of so-called war veterans were/are a farrago of thieves, murderers, rapists, fraudsters, school dropouts, drifters, desperadoes and juvenile delinquents who skipped the border in the 60s and 70s who were fugitives from justice for non-political crimes and serendipitously found refuge in Zanu or Zapu camps as “political refugees” when they had no political interest or inclination or allegiance. Now these are the people who are leading or influencing proceedings in government and parastatals on our behalf. If you don’t know the background behind so-called war veterans you will obviously be shocked by incidents of unbridled corruption but I am not at all surprised – it’s par for the course. Once a crook will always be a ……

  21. Some of these people see Zimbabwe as “an unguarded bank” where they can go in and take as much as they like with no questions asked.

  22. Meanwhile the looting continues unabated in the private sector where some banks titter on the brink & employees are getting peanuts. All because of dollarisation. ‘Loot as much while stocks last’. The dollar has become our curse.

  23. @ Musona. I agree with you on this one. Nowonder why. Unfortunately they are now very powerfull. God have mercy

  24. BUT GOD WHY?Its because God helps those who help themselves.We will cry till amen.No miracle is going to end this.We have to fight it ourselves.Check the police,if a cop misbehaves in public,the worst punishment is a transfer.Obert wants to introduce urban tolling to loot more from the poor.This is ridiculous.Its a big free for all stampede at the feeding trough.WE ARE ALL A MALLEABLE COWARD LOT.

  25. This goes to show we are still a long way to understanding what service is all about. It seems the trend is self service not civil service.

    I pray for a day when we have responsible and accountable leadership who truly understand what serving one’s country means. There has to be a huge paradigm shift to create a culture underpinned by principles and sense of purpose.

    Cry the beloved country!!!

  26. KONDO,

    Yes you have got it right. We the Zimbabwean people are a cowardly lot. What we need is a peoples revolution once and for all . Just shut down( collapse) the whole country together ,ie short term pain but long term gain. Round these mafia thugs up stick them in chikarubi and move on. We are 15 million of us , and yet we allow 20 or so fat gang bosses to rule our lives, how pathetically cowardly we are.

  27. Great analysis Kamurai

  28. Wareva…..bigup. There is no will to change status quo. Tsoro irikutambwa. Maiwe nyika yaenda kuma were. Rinemanyanga hariputirwi rinoputika chete. Zvichapera.

  29. johannes kwangwari

    mangoma,madzore and mupariwa had no say on those ministries ,the perm secs who had beeen at those ministries for a long time called the shots

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