Zimbabwe government hypocrisy over diamonds exposes its corrupt nature

Firstly, I would like to express my appreciation for the feedback that readers have been sending, and also assure them that I am still writing - however, the lull in the frequency of my writings has been due to the fact that I am currently involved in a research project, whilst at the same time, looking after my mother who is suffering from cancer (as an only child, I have to do this alone).

diamonds250As a result, I have not had much time for anything else, but will always try to write something whenever I get a little moment.

Nevertheless, the recent proclamation on corruption in diamond mining by the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, during a recently televised Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) interview, leaves one wondering as to what extent this government is prepared to go with its hypocrisy.

The President said that the government was losing huge sums of money through corruption in the mining of diamonds, and as such, government had decided to take over diamond mining.

Agreed, there has been very little revenue accrued to government through the mining and selling of diamonds, but when did this problem start?

According to reports, the then Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, in the Government of National Unity (GNU), informed the President of the corrupt activities involved in the mining and selling of diamonds, and was actually presented by Biti several authentic investigative reports produced by impeccable organisations, including the Kimberley Process.

However, the President rubbished these accusations, and instead asked Biti why he was just concerned about diamonds and not platinum.

As such, it appears as if the government had no problem with corruption in the mining and selling of diamonds when the lack of revenue into the fiscus meant that the then Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)-led Ministry of Finance would be blamed for withholding funds for critical government programmes.

However, now that the Ministry of Finance is back in the hands of ZANU PF, the government suddenly is taking the issue of corruption in the diamond sector seriously.

That is utter hypocrisy!

Can anyone be expected to believe that the ZANU PF government is sincere about fighting corruption in this country? I think not.

Corruption in Zimbabwe has been embedded in our society as a result of the government’s own insincerity in fighting it, as it has been used to benefit those in power both politically and financially.

If the above example is to be used, corruption was used as a political tool to starve the MDC-led Finance Ministry, so as to portray the party as the cause of government’s failure in increasing civil servants’ salaries, and infrastructural development,  amongst a whole host of other things.

Who can forget the tired and shameful statements from the President, ZANU PF-led ministries, and the states controlled media during the GNU, to the effect that government could not do such and such because ‘Biti is refusing to release funds’.

Today, Biti is long gone as the Finance Minister, and yet the ZANU PF government is still failing to provide funds for its programmes, in fact, the situation has significantly deteriorated, as government can no longer pay salaries that were being provided during the GNU.

As such, government allowed for corruption to freely exist as a way of scoring political points over its opponents.

At the same time, government officials are busy building for themselves Hollywood-type lifestyles through corruption, yet there is nothing been done about that.

As long as corruption is acceptable at highest levels of our society, the talk about fighting it is just mere hypocrisy.

Honestly, who in Zimbabwe does not know of the existence of corruption at nearly all the traffic police checkpoints?

There is no lack of witnesses, as any driver will tell you all about it.

So why is the government not doing anything about it?

Arresting one or two traffic officers once in a while is pathetic window dressing, because if the government was genuinely against corruption, they could easily set up traps at randomly selected traffic police checkpoints throughout the country.

However, the manner in which bribes openly exchange hands at these checkpoints clearly shows that there is no seriousness at all in fighting corruption in this country.

Is it then any wonder why we end up having tragic accidents on our roads, due to factors that proper police and Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) checkpoints could have easily detected and taken appropriate action, but instead opted for a bribe?

Another of the corruption cases that the government allows to go unchecked is with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) at our border posts.

I remember travelling by bus from South Africa, and a bus crew asking passengers to pay, in addition to the regular fare, a certain amount that would be given to Zimra officials at the Beitbridge border post, so that their luggage would not be searched – and as a result not pay any import duties.

As a result, the much needed revenue that could have been used to resuscitate Zimbabwe’s struggling industries – thereby, creating employment for thousands – in fact ended up in the pockets of a few individuals working for Zimra.

Again, such corruption is carried out in the open, and if the ZANU PF government was sincere about fighting corruption, it could easily clamp down on this, but it chooses not to.

That is why the economy of Zimbabwe will never be revived, no matter what economic stimulus programmes the government comes up with, as long as corruption is not seriously dealt with – because money that is supposed to be used to revive the economy will always be siphoned out by a few individuals, with impunity, for their own self-aggrandisement.

It is time the government took corruption seriously, and stopped using it as a tool for selfish political and financial benefit, and considered the country’s welfare above all else.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a community activist, communications specialist, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes feedback. Please feel free to call/WhatsApp: +263782283975, or email: [email protected]com.

We also welcome all those who would want to join our WhatsApp group, ‘Let’s Stop Zim Rot’, which is a platform for individuals from varied persuasions to openly and freely share their own personal ideas, viewpoints, and opinions on matters affecting Zimbabwe’s political and economic situation. Please send your WhatsApp number to +27623535704, +27614444070, or +263773448198.

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