As clear as mud

The Hong Kong court case, pitting the Mugabes and the Government of Zimbabwe on one side and a Chinese businessman on the other, flags up the murky goings-on behind the scenes.

It clearly shows how convoluted, corrupt and opaque are the dividing lines between what belongs to government and what is private property. The division separating government property from those in government is as clear as mud.

Initially we were told that the house in Hong Kong was being rented for the first family while Bona was at university. So presumably it was their property. Then we were told it was a government property. So why was it being used for such a personal purpose? Now it emerges that the property is in the Chinaman’s name and he is claiming ownership. So who was the money paid to – and why?

The Mugabes and the government claim that the property was bought as part of a “secret project”. Really? How many other “secret projects” are there? Is there perhaps a “secret project” in Malaysia or Singapore where the first family spends a considerable amount of time every year?

One might ask: of what benefit has this “project” been to the nation and people of Zimbabwe? Is the money spent on this property part of the millions of taxpayers’ dollars in the presidential “slush fund” budget that is never scrutinised by the Auditor General?

This case is a typical example of what happens where there is no accountability. It appears this lack of accountability has spread to ministers – who use government assets as it they were their own private property.

Recently, there was a case of the Minister of Tourism, who felt entitled to yet another luxury government vehicle to be used for his personal use as it had been bought for a major conference in Victoria Falls. He felt justified in adding it to his personal fleet of government vehicles. No shame at all! – while civil servants struggle to get transport to do their work.

Walter Mzembi is by no means the only culprit. Many others have commandeered vehicles from parastatals for their own abuse.

Zimbabweans the world over will be watching this court case with bated breath. This is our asset at stake here – bought with our tax dollars.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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