In his own admittance, President Robert Mugabe has confirmed to Zimbabweans that he has been sleeping on the job perhaps due to effects of his advanced age resulting in diamond firms creaming off diamonds worth over $15 billion over the last few years.
That was disastrous and unbelievable for a whole President to confirm what we have always suspected that the country did not benefit from the abundant resources that caused waves after their discovery.
What is worse is that no action was taken against the culprits presumably because they are his cronies and bankrolls his Zanu PF party programmes. We have no reason to doubt that all beneficiaries of the special grants in Chiadzwa were somehow linked to either Mugabe or his troubled Zanu PF.
While Mugabe’s incriminating admission is saddening, recent disclosures by the Civil Service Commission audit of the massive rot in government, is enough to make any self-respecting person resign.
Apparently not in Zimbabwe! Mugabe has nursed the culture of corruption such that it has penetrated every facet of the country. That is probably why Zimbabweans have not been moved to protest against those bleeding the country at the expense of the majority. In any other country, individuals who illegally dip their fingers into national coffers would long have been booted out of the system or jailed.
Yet, Mugabe uses that evidence to create a destructive patronage system. The fact that millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money are being spent on salaries of ghost and idle workers, amid reports that over $3,3 billion – 83% of the National Budget — was gobbled by salaries alone in 2015 and no one bats an eyelid, shows that we have accepted venality as part of our system.
To have 12 392 people rendering service to government yet not appearing on the payroll, leading to an unbudgeted expenditure of $81,1 million annually, is unforgivable under whatsoever circumstances.
The lackadaisical approach that Mugabe has taken over sleaze confirms what we have been saying for years — that the President is not serious about jettisoning graft that, alongside a host of other self-made ills, has plunged the country into a political, social and economic cesspool.
We believe that at a time the economy is hurtling towards conflagration, Mugabe and his government have the responsibility to stop the rot. It is unfortunate that a few Zanu PF greedy characters have been abusing government systems left, right and centre at the expense of the 14 million-strong population that continues to hope for an end to the current political and socio-economic logjam.
The melancholiest thing in all this is the exposé of duplication of functions in most government structures. This is a clear indication that the country’s Executive has long taken its hands off the deck, consequently costing the cash-strapped government a staggering $21 million, in addition to the diamond loot running into billions. What a waste!
Clearly, nothing is working in this country. Everything has long clogged — the health, education and economic sectors are all teetering on the brink, yet Mugabe acts as if everything is normal.
If the government is sincere in its drive to set things right, then they have to take practical steps to address this mess as a matter of urgency.
Is this not the glummest time of Zimbabweans?