Mugabe’s legacy: stinking corruption

Cuthbert Dube, CEO of Public Service Medical Aid Society, paid himself $230K per month. The board consumed $1M of members’ contributions, every month! And all this while PSMAS owes $38M to medical service providers.

All parastatals have since declared their salaries to the minister of information, which is something that should have been done long ago.

Just as the nation was coming to grips with Cuthbert Dube’s treasonous pillaging, a fresh scandal emerged about a multi-million dollar insurance scam, running from 2009 to 2013 at Air Zimbabwe – a parastatal we all believed did not have two pennies to rub together.

At the eye of the storm is CEO Grace Pfumbidzayi, who is niece to the secretary for transport, Munesu Munodawafa. How the fraud evaded the eyes of auditors and the transport ministry for four years in mindboggling.

Mugabe has readily labelled his opponents as sell-outs. Tendai Biti was charged with treason after announcing election results in 2008.

True Treason

But misuse of public funds is the true treason. For every dollar pilfered from government, an underprivileged child goes hungry. As a result of Cuthbert Dube’s self-enrichment drive, pregnant women failed to access medical assistance from hospitals. Medical service providers have become increasingly unwilling to accept PSMAS cards, owing to lengthy delays in processing claims. If Cuthbert Dube had exercised prudence PSMAS members would receive better healthcare.

Humourists have labelled him Cashbert Dube, Cut-Purse Dube but this offence is no laughing matter. The only joke in all of this is Dube’s résumé, which has a mile-long list of management awards and college degrees, proving correct the old adage that you cannot teach common sense. Common sense dictates that the CEOs should only award themselves salaries that match profits.

Corruption should not shock us. We have had 34 years to acclimatise. It was introduced to Zimbabwe by Zanu (PF). The Rhodesian government was oppressive. Thank goodness it is gone. But nobody bought drivers’ licenses from VID until Zanu (PF) came to power. If you were caught flouting road regulations, your goose was cooked. There was no ‘come let’s talk’ or ‘money for drink.’

Very early in Mugabe’s tenure, the likes of Kumbirai Kangai, Morris Nyagumbo and Fredrick Shava were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Shava had the ministerial stripes torn from his shoulders and Nyagumbo sipped a tot of pesticide in shame. Then we lowered his coffin at a shrine for heroes. Shava is living lavishly in a diplomatic home in China.

Teflon vest

More recently, Goodwills Masimirembwa provided us with a shocking distraction from our daily troubles, when he extorted $6M from a foreign investor, while simultaneously denting Zimbabwe’s bid to sell itself as safe investment destination.

There was no reprimand for the perpetrators. Parastatal CEOs are political appointments. Zanu (PF)’s party card is a Teflon vest, capable of stopping large calibre corruption charges, even at close range.

The fact that it is, of all publications, The Herald, that has revealed these scandals does not in any way mean there is a change at that governmental propaganda machine. The natives are restless: civil servants want better salaries, youths demand the promised two million jobs, civil rights groups are calling for alignment of the country’s laws to the new constitution.

But Zanu (PF) is at a loss for ideas. So the strategy is to throw out a few scandals which will never translate to jobs or food. What is worse is that the ministers and secretaries responsible for AirZim, PSMAS and ZBC will not be punished. Looting CEOs will neither be prosecuted nor have their assets seized.


Patrick Chinamasa has failed in a bid to obtain financial support from ‘all weather friend,’ China. Senior government sources revealed that the Chinese were unimpressed by Chinamasa’s Zimasset document, preferring instead ‘bankable projects.’ Such is the scarcity of money that Mugabe’s government has eaten large portions of humble pie and approached – would you believe – Britain’s Department of International Development, seeking funds for one million disadvantaged pupils under the Basic Educational Assistance Module.

Despite Mugabe publicly screaming ‘Blair keep your Britain,’ the evil British provided 13million text books and school fees for 300,000 pupils, between 2009 and 2013. Zanu (PF) will tell anybody who is silly enough to listen to them that China is an ‘all weather friend’ but even China can see Mugabe’s mythical ZimAsset for what it is.

Former finance minister, Tendai Biti, has likened Zanu (PF)’s mentality to broiler chickens which eat without stopping.

‘The biggest problem is that Zanu (PF) do not understand money and the economy. They are functionally illiterate. They think that money grows on trees.’ It would be difficult to dispute these allegations, considering Chinamasa thought China could simply surrender $10Billion of their money to him without wanting to know the finer details of his financial plans.

Biti said Zimbabwe has all the conditions suitable for a coup-d’etat. The conditions in which rebellions occur in Africa are a lack of leadership, the exclusion of some persons or tribes and a non functioning economy. Mugabe has sequestered himself inside State House since returning from holiday, effectively robbing the nation of leadership.

VP Mujuru does not have full presidential powers and would not want to make major changes, for fear of spoiling her succession ambitions. The recent formation of two new parties – Madhuku’s NCA and Mthwakazi Republic Party – suggests growing discontent.

Presidential confessions

In his first public appearance this year, Mugabe revealed previously unknown family details. He became head of the family, as a mere boy, after his father absconded. It turns out Mugabe Senior was taken with the ‘beautiful Ndebele girls’ and decided Matebeleland was more habitable.

Rejection is often a motive for murder. This explains Mugabe’s bitterness towards Matebeleland, upon whom he unleashed the full might of the Fifth Brigade. Tsholotsho, where Mugabe’s father sired two half-Ndebele children, bore the brunt of the army’s atrocities. Over 20,000 unarmed civilians were killed – a great portion burned alive in huts – under the guise of flushing out ‘dissidents’.


After the Chitungwiza land audit was completed, city council bulldozers were called in. Residents formed a human wall, preventing demolition and threatening the driver with violence. If only the masses had exhibited such bravery, maybe the country would not be in its current mess.. – Till next week, my pen is capped. [email protected]

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