Zanu to study corruption-(22-02-07)

HARARE - The new Minister for State Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption, Samuel Undenge, has appointed a research team to carry out a national baseline study to probe the causes of rampant corruption in crisis-torn Zimbabwe and how to curb it.
Widespread corruption

in government, and a crippling economic crisis that Zimbabwe is currently going through, has exacted an enormous toll on President Robert Mugabe’s political standing. Mugabe last year appointed an Anti-Corruption Commission to deal with the scourge, but the body has been conspicuously silent as top-level sleaze has almost brought the country’s once farming-based economy, now black-market based, to a virtual halt.
To keep up the anti-graft momentum, Undenge, who took the reins at the anti-corruption ministry two weeks ago, has appointed University of Zimbabwe academic, Prof Claude Mararike, to lead a team of researchers who will embark on a countrywide study, which authorities claim would prelude a police crackdown on graft both in government and outside government.
Used to empty promises in 27 years of Zanu (PF)’s uninterrupted rule, few Zimbabweans believe government’s sincerity in tackling graft. Many simply are taking the pledge as Mugabe’s ploy to deflate attention from his poor management of the economy.
With slogans such as ‘Refuse, Resist and Report Corruption’ and ‘Be Patient Do Not Offer A Bribe, Wait For Your Chance,’ the research involves a national consultative process led by a group economists, sociologists and scientists who will sample the views of people on the grassroots level on effective ways of curbing corruption and report back to policy makers, according Prof Mararike.
Mugabe has in the past said “I will not drop a tear if a relative of mine is caught in that net against corruption,” and that “none of them would be given mercy.”
But he has been quick to pardon his close relatives, such as his nephew Leo Mugabe who was easily let off the hook despite abundant evidence that he had externalized flour. His other close relative Phillip Chiyangwa was easily let off the hook after being fingered as the mastermind behind a spy ring that was peddling State secrets to the South African intelligence arm. Chiyangwa’s co-accused, who were mainly diplomats, are currently languishing in prison, serving five year jail terms but Mugabe’s cousin continues to roam the streets freely.
Mugabe has however made half-hearted attempts to deal with graft by sacrificing a few of his colleagues for political expediency. For instance, the arrest of Chris Kuruneri, a former Finance minister in Mugabe’s government three years ago, threw the country into a frenzy of approval, and Zimbabweans dramatically changed their earlier scepticism of Mugabe’s sincerity. But since then, Mugabe has not been committed to dealing with high-level graft, only sacrificing “small fish.”
A stinking scandal recently erupted at the state-owned giant steelworks in Redcliff where senior government officials, including Mugabe’s two Vice Presidents, Joice Mujuru and Joseph Msika, pillaged Ziscosteel through underhand dealings. Up to date not one person has been arrested as government frantically attempts to cover up the “steelgate scandal.”
A University of Zimbabwe political analysts speculated that Zimbabwe could soon witness the arrest of senior officials on corruption charges as Mugabe moves to convince a restive nation, angered by a crippling economic crisis and the ever widening gap between the have and the have nots, that he was committed to deal with graft.
“They are trying to retain the confidence of the people of this country. But time, it seems, is not on their side,” the political scientist said.

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