SPEAKING at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kariba South Power Station extension project on Thursday, President Robert Mugabe bemoaned: “I, however, would like to observe that implementation of public projects has in the past been characterised by inefficiency, delays and lack of commitment, which cumulatively have often compromised the cost-effectiveness of the projects. This cannot be allowed to continue.”
Mr President, if it’s really efficiency you are after, this cannot be achieved without transparency.
Mr President, we should have public confirmation hearings where would-be senior officials in government would be put under scrutiny and intense questioning over their suitability professionally and ethically.
But, Mr President, senior officials are appointed and retained at mostly the whim of your ministers. If we may ask, is Transport minister Obert Mpofu conjoined to Godwills Masimirembwa who he has now tagged along to two ministries?
Mr President, less talk, more action
The Essar deal is another case in point. This essential project was turned into a political football amid swirling rumours that it would not take off before top politicians’ hands were greased to their satisfaction.
So, Mr President, some of these apparent delays and inefficiencies are actually contrived to conceal corruption and fraud.
We have the shocking occurrence when the Transport ministry, without going to tender, bought snow graders whereas Zimbabwe is no snow country, and the the permanent secretary, Munesu Munodawafa, had the audacity to defend this,
Mr President, if you need another reminder, Ignatius Chombo, whom you have continually retained as Local Government minister, is in the habit of defending the indefensible, reinstating on obviously political grounds some top officials who would have been suspended and fired for purely professional reasons.
If, Mr President, you look at everything through a political prism, professionalism suffers.
The prevailing position that civil servants work primarily for Zanu PF, instead of the State and nation of Zimbabwe, is another big factor in this gross inefficiency and paralysis. Mr President, only yesterday the Belvedere Technical Teachers College acting principal was chased out of his post by your party’s youths whereas they should have been nowhere near there.
The matter rightly belonged under the purview of the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry and the Civil Service Commission, but it is now out of their hands and they would not be seen to be reversing the unprocedural ouster because they themselves would suffer the same fate.
Mr President, as it is, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is totally paralysed because you threw it to the wolves when you did not come out to say it should operate unhindered, without fear or favour, after it was stopped by your ministers and top officials from investigating high-level corruption when they were grounds to do so.
Maybe, Mr President, your leadership style could be largely to blame. You have centralised power, but you cannot be everywhere at the same time.
And you are most demanding of loyalty where professionalism and nothing else is required. So, it is no wonder that things have deteriorated to this shocking extent.
Mr, President, you need to go the whole hog. You need to back talk with decisive action.
We don’t need sound and fury signifying nothing. We have been down that road before.