BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZIMBABWE’S security sector has taken over control of all levers of the national economy, making it difficult to eliminate corruption as the “law does not apply to them”, the Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PRIZ) has claimed, but government yesterday dismissed the assertion as “nonsense”.
Speaking during a virtual meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, PRIZ executive director Gorden Moyo last week said the military was running Zimbabwe’s economy. “When these people (the army) are involved in corruption, the Executive is tongue-tied; is hamstrung to deal with them and that is why we have a number of people who are arrested and released — catch and release. It’s because the members of the military are in charge of the economy,” Moyo, who served as State Enterprises and Parastatals minister in the government of national unity, said.
“And because they are in charge of the economy, particularly the mining sector and fuel business which are big businesses in the country and when these guys are involved in illicit deals — externalisation of funds, money-laundering and other financial crimes, they are not called to order.
“Law does not apply to them. They operate above the law simply because they installed a government in November 2017. We have a huge problem folks on our hands as a country because we have a highly securitised economy, a highly militarised State,” he said.
But Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday rubbished Moyo’s claims.
She said empirical evidence had shown that it was the abuse of the mobile money platforms by the dominant mobile networks that had choked the economy.
“I am sorry this is a lot of nonsense. Empirical evidence have shown that it is abuse of mobile money platforms by dominant mobile networks and money-laundering through the stock exchange,” Mutsvangwa charged.
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“Statutory instruments against these two institutions have had a dramatic impact on the economy. Neither the stock exchange nor the mobile money platforms are owned by a politburo member. I have no respect for patent falsehoods masquerading as political and economic analysts.”
The army was heavily involved in government’s Command Agriculture programme which saw over US$2,7 billion being “unprocedurally” allocated to the initiative.
The Zimbabwe Defence Forces also has its tentacles in diamond mining where the late former President Robert Mugabe claimed US$15 billion was looted.
Corruption in Zimbabwe has become endemic within political, private and civil sectors.
Last year, the country moved only two points upwards to a score of 24 from a 2018 comparative of 22. In the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Zimbabwe was ranked 160th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s perceptions index.
The CPI ranks countries on a score of zero to 100 with the latter extreme signalling cleanliness and the former highest level of corruption.
Moyo, however, also said the other problem Zimbabwean citizens were facing was State-party conflation.
“It is not the government that is running that economy. It is not Mthuli Ncube (Finance minister) who is running that economy. There are people in the politburo, your (Patrick) Chinamasa and others who make decisions. So we have a State-party system in Zimbabwe where the party is in charge, working together with the military,” he said.