Yesterday, Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire appointed almost 10 boards under his purview. Notably, he appointed former Lands minister Herbert Murerwa as Zesa chairman.
Mavhaire’s appointments followed that of Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Obert Mpofu, who a day before sent tongues wagging when he appointed Godwills Masimirembwa as chairperson of the State-owned Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED).
It appears the ministers are stampeding to appoint tired faces into State corporations, a question of old wine in new bottles, but with a tough call to revive the fortunes of the parastatals.
The main problem is that most of the boards, especially the chairmen since they are their cronies, always act like executives when they are non-executive. The board takes over the running of the institution instead of allowing management to do that and supervise them.
A case in point is that during Masimirembwa’s term as chairman of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), he actually had a full-time office there and an assistant and all decisions were being made by him.
Is it by coincidence that Masimirembwa follows Mpofu to whichever ministry he goes? This is daylight Zanu PF nepotism style. It is compelling to remind ministers they should appoint individuals beyond reproach if the country is to move forward.
It is not enough to recycle same individuals with the hope to growing the economy even when the same individuals are said to have been absolved of any wrongdoing. The fact remains that some of them have been fingered in corruption and nothing happened to bring them to book.
Masimirembwa’s appointment, which was approved by President Robert Mugabe, came 10 months after the 90-year-old Zanu PF leader accused him of extorting money from a Ghanaian businessman.
Mpofu, however, tasked Masimirembwa and his new board to recover the $2,7 million CMED was allegedly duped into paying by a local fuel supplier, First Oil, in a clandestine deal involving top government and Zanu PF officials.
Mugabe last year accused Masimirembwa, then ZMDC chairman, of demanding a $6 million bribe from William Ato Essien, a Ghanaian diamond investor, in the now defunct Gye Nyame Resources in Marange.
But in February, Mugabe made a U-turn and exonerated Masimirembwa, saying he had been misled and claimed Essien was a “crook” who failed to inject capital into the diamond producer. How Murerwa was also appointed is puzzling as it came soon after Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora disclosed that the land reform programme was abused with 10-year-old children having been allocated commercial farms.
So, there is need for government ministers to be transparent in the way they do business to inspire confidence to the citizenry. One wonders whether there are no more other people of integrity out there.
It is time Cde President walks the talk. There is rampant corruption in State bodies as revealed by the mega-salaries earned by their chief executives.
Mugabe should stop this rot by his ministers. State resources are for future generations, but the attitude exhibited by State actors leave a lot to be desired. That in itself requires some restrain.