Succession And Economic Challenges Lead To Anti-Corruption Drive
BMI View: A spate of revelations about corruption and mismanagement at Zimbabwean state-owned enterprises by state media has been applauded, but has also raised the ire of the general public, given the magnitude of some of the figures involved. Questions have been raised about why this problem, which has more or less been public knowledge for some time, is being publicly aired now. While an attempt to free up fiscal resources is probably a factor, it also appears that a battle to succeed ageing President Robert Mugabe at the helm of the ZANU-PF party is playing a part.
In early 2014 Zimbabwean traditional and social media was abuzz with revelations, published in the state-run Herald newspaper, about corruption and impropriety at the country's parastatal firms and local government authorities. In particular, the exorbitant salaries paid to senior executives - some of whom have been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars on a monthly basis - have raised the ire of the general public. In most cases, the entities in question are struggling to carry out basic operations and lower ranking employees often go unpaid.
The revelations are a continuation of a trend started by President Robert Mugabe at his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front's (ZANU-PF) annual conference in December 2012, when he spoke out strongly against corruption. At a dinner following the opening of parliament on September 17 2013, Mugabe then took the unusual step of directly accusing members of his party of corruption, demanding that action be taken. Mugabe accused the chairman of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), Godwills Masimirembwa, who unsuccessfully ran for parliament on a ZANU-PF ticket in the 2013 election, of accepting a US$6mn bribe from Ghanaian investors. There was hope that the singling out of ZMDC officials was the start of a concerted effort to address the rampant corruption that pervades almost all levels of government. Although there has been little further detail on the progress of the case against Masimirembwa, the latest developments give further credence to the idea that the Mugabe regime is taking action against corruption.
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