What is happening at Local Government ministry?

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RECENTLY there were revelations that Zimbabwe through the Local Government ministry had penned an agreement with Belarus to procure fire tenders from the eastern Europe nation for the country’s 92 local authorities.

According to correspondence from the Local Government ministry to the local authorities, the fire tenders would cost the councils US$464 296 each, an amount which kicked up a lot of dust as concerned citizens queried the whole deal.

Local Government deputy minister Marian Chombo mumbled in Parliament as she tried to explain the deal; local authorities said they were never consulted about the deal; no one has ever come forward to show the world the tender documents for the deal; and now latest information indicates that Parliament has no documentation whatsoever pertaining to the deal.

However, just given the scant details about this deal that have surfaced, is this not a juicy deal for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to immediately investigate? Curiously, Zacc has been mum about this very interesting development in a country literally infested with corruption.

Even President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s deafening silence and disquiet on this issue is worrying, especially given that he promised us that he would not brook any form of corruption in this government when he assumed power in 2017.

Maybe he believes Zacc has the power to act on these issues, but Zacc has told us that its efforts are increasingly getting frustrated by corrupt State bigwigs, who are threatening witnesses and whistleblowers. And President Mnangagwa appears indifferent that some among his troops are trashing  the country’s fight against graft with impunity.

And when people then start accusing the President of being soft as wool when it comes to fighting crime, would they be wrong given the prevailing situation?

There are now two questionable deals involving the Local Government ministry — this Belarus fire tender deal and the Pomona waste to energy management deal — which many feel should have interested the President and Zacc team of graft investigators.

So we ask: Why is the President and Zacc not concerned about the curious goings on at the Local Government ministry? Clearly there is something wrong with the moral compass of that ministry.

Or is July Moyo, the Local Government minister, a sacred cow that he is untouchable?

We then shudder to imagine how many more other deals are being swept under the carpet every day, yet Zimbabwe is among the dozens of African countries that in 2020 lost US$140 billion to corruption, money which could have gone a long way in uplifting citizens from wretched poverty.

But when leadership appears so unmoved by such high levels of looting taking place around it, then we are doomed as a country. It should then not surprise us when other nations label us as failed States.