Corruption: Mugabe must take the flak

The person who should take the flak for widespread corruption in Zimbabwe is none other than President Robert Mugabe.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

To start with, it is certainly not flattering to him that he is the patron of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society – which perhaps represents the zenith of the current salaries and allowances scandal, according to information that has been publicised so far.

We fail to understand what Mugabe was doing as the patron of an organisation at which the CEO was grossing $500,000 a month, enough to pay the president’s basic salary for a number of years. Either he existed as patron in name only, or he just didn’t care what was happening at PSMAS.

We all know that Mugabe has a big intelligence department, which should regularly brief him on the goings on in government and the country at large. It would therefore be very difficult to believe that the spies were not getting information regarding PSMAS and other government enterprises, unless they are part of the scam. If the rot has extended to the Central Intelligence Organisation, then there is something wrong about the way in which the President picks the people who lead his security unit.

No head of state in a functioning democracy anywhere in the world would stay in office a day longer upon revelations that he or she was the patron of an organisation behaving the way PSMAS did.

We have complained in the past that Mugabe has the tendency to appoint ministers and other key government officials on the basis of patronage – with scant regard for competence or suitability. We are not going to stop complaining about that soon, considering that he has retained in the current cabinet a number of people who should have been shown the door.

Webster Shamu presided over the rot at ZBC, but he was merely shifted to a new ministry when the new cabinet was announced. There is no gainsaying the fact that Obert Mpofu’s tenure at the mines ministry was mired in controversy, but he too was rewarded with a new ministry. The same applies to several other ministers, among them Saviour Kasukuwere and Nicholas Goche, whom the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission last year tried to probe for alleged graft.

Needless to say, Mugabe has talked loudly about corruption over the years. But we have never seen him act. This gives two possibilitia: either he is in it together with the transgressors that have been named, or he just does not care. As Simba Makoni, the leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn said last week, the buck stops with Mugabe because he is the CEO of this country.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga
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