REPORTS that senior government officials nearly scuttled a multi-million dollar investment deal between Ziscosteel and India’s Essar Africa, which could see thousands of people directly and indirectly employed and line industries benefiting are a shock to the country.
One wonders how a country that badly needs investment becomes the most difficult to access by foreign investors wanting to put in their money into the economy. It speaks to the insensitivity of the concerned government officials surrounding President Robert Mugabe, who in many ways have taken advantage of his advanced age to benefit ahead of the citizenry.
This is the sad reality that Zimbabweans have had to live with over the last few years. But if Mugabe and Zanu PF are serious about turning around the economy then heads must roll in the top corners of the State arms.
Corruption can never be allowed to be Zimbabwe’s way of doing things just for the few privileged individuals to benefit from the country’s resources.
It is true that many other investors have been turned away for failing to pay bribes to government officials. Most investors never had the opportunity to meet Mugabe as they still may have been blocked.
One wonders whether investors have to meet Mugabe each time they want to set up shop in this country. A transparent investment policy should simply be implemented for Zimbabweans to benefit.
Mugabe should, therefore, take disclosures by Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Jeitendra Tripathi as a serious indictment on the part of the concerned bureaucrats who are supposed to put the country before self.
Mugabe should not only be concerned about what could have happened had the $750 million deal been scuttled, but should look into the future with a view to weeding out corruption from government.
Can government continue to trust the same top government officials if they have no interest in the country prospering. If discipline is executed against these corrupt individuals, Mugabe will be setting a bad precedent, otherwise whose interests are they still serving in their respective ministries? Zimbabweans demand better representation by government officials — otherwise the economic situation currently prevailing in the country is untenable.
No doubt, had the bureaucrats fingered in the Ziscosteel/Essar deal prevailed, Zimbabwe’s prospects of ever courting international investors would have gone up in smoke. One wonders why investors wanting to bail out the country through investment must always fight or petition government for longer periods because somebody in a capacity to help wants a bribe before approving a project.
Was this a single incident or corruption is now rampant in all government arms or it’s just a few bad apples? This is how not to do things while the country is burning.
Does one have to know anyone in government for them to have approval to set up shop in the country? Has Zimbabwe suddenly become a country of crooks?
International investors have always ignored politics at play in Zimbabwe, but about the security of their investments and it is time all arms of government move in one direction to promote investment for the benefit of all.