Editorial 06 (15-02-07)

Serious debate on corruption? - dream on
Zimbabwe's parliament reconvenes next week after its long summer slumber. Among the issues to be debated is the question of the institutionalised corruption that has contributed enormously to Zimbabwe's economic co

Various parliamentary portfolio committees, which spent much of last year probing corruption in various parastatals, are due to present their findings to the House.
During the committee hearings some startling revelations were made – particularly concerning the iron and steel giant, ZISCO, which was milked of billions by the usual Zanu (PF) fat cats and their hangers on.
Unfortunately, the source of the information – none other than minister of industry Obert Mpofu, whom one would assume to be in the know – made a sudden U turn and decided not to release the names of the looters. Not surprisingly, his about-turn came shortly after he was summoned to an urgent meeting with vice president Joice Mujuru.
This means a watered-down version of the report, without the names of the guilty parties, will be all parliament gets to see. However, the committee sittings also heard hair-raising stories about corruption in the Grain Marketing Board, the police and the lucrative mining industry – particularly the Marange Diamond bonanza.
An enormous amount of useful material has undoubtedly been gathered and the committees are to be complimented for their diligence.
However, most of them were, of course, headed by Zanu (PF) MPs. These unfortunate souls were summoned to a special caucus meeting by party heavies a few weeks ago, where they had the riot act read to them for “causing anxiety in the party’s hierarchy”.
So it would be unwise to hold one’s breath pending dramatic revelations and serious debate thereon in parliament.
The tragedy is that corruption is endemic throughout the top echelons of Zanu (PF) and the party is so riddled with it that to try and stamp it out would require a stronger stomach than that of the aged incumbent at the head of state today.
He seems content to spend his time playing musical chairs on his political and economic Titanic. Every time the media, including the state-controlled press reported the revelations made before the committees, his silence was deafening.
As for the anti-corruption ministry … words fail us.
We agree with what everybody outside Zanu (PF) is saying: the only way forward is a new constitution and fresh elections – committees, investigations, even parliamentary debates are nothing more than an exercise in futility at this stage.
Word for Today 06
“Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will b3e broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither.” Psalm 37: 16-19

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