Two critical developments, separate but intertwined, happened on Monday.
As a Harare magistrate was castigating President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Anti-Corruption Prosecution unit for lack of seriousness in dealing with corruption cases, the head of State was swearing Zimbabwe’s new Anti-Corruption commissioners.
Since coming into power in November 2017, Mnangagwa has been preaching the anti-corruption gospel.
But the gusto with which he has been speaking has not been mirrored by relevant bodies on the ground. The manner in which the Anti-Corruption Prosecution unit has been delaying the handling of the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) general manager Elizabeth Chitiga’s corruption case shows a lack of appetite in effectively dealing with corruption.
One can understand magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini’s frustration with the progress of the case, or lack thereof, as the State keeps on bringing new prosecutors who
would want to start from a scratch.
This is generally reflective of the lackadaisical approach that government has adopted towards corruption; a cancer that has viciously torn the economic and social fabric of the nation.
Many of the country’s parastatals and other such bodies are now on treasury support system after those who hold the levers of power helped themselves to the
coffers as shown by Auditor-General Mildred Chisi’s annual reports.
The collapse of such institutions as the National Railway of Zimbabwe, Cold Storage Commission and steel-making giant, Ziscosteel, can all be traced back to massive corruption by State actors.
The fact that corruption continues to spread its tentacles, with little or no action from the authorities, has seen the public lose confidence in government’s
approach to corruption, particularly when no significant arrests and imprisonments have been made.
Government has a lot to do in order to convince the citizenry and win its confidence.
This is not the time to treat alleged corrupt chefs with kid gloves as has been the case so far.
The extent to which corruption has become endemic in this country demands that it be dealt with expeditiously, otherwise we will just continue talking about it
and condemning it, yet doing nothing about it. The State will also continue to bleed as the fat cats go on a rampage, helping themselves to the national cake.