HARARE – One of the key pronouncements made by new Zanu PF leader and State President Emmerson Mnangagwa centred around the issue of graft, without doubt an impediment to national economic growth and the general advancement in the quality of life for ordinary Zimbabweans.
Having promised to hit the ground running in his inaugural speech at the giant National Sports Stadium, the very first sign appears to be on the highways where a free-for-all had become the order of the day.
At some point in the mid-2000s, Zimbabwe reported a diamond find that nobody ever thought would come from Zimbabwe.
However, the only benefits that accrued to individual Zimbabweans went into the pockets of those who braved the tight controls at the diamond mines.
The profits of the so-called find never trickled down to the common Zimbabwean.
There has been talk of a missing $15 billion in diamond revenue that even former president Robert Mugabe admitted had been lost under his watch.
A few weeks ago, Intratek boss Wicknell Chivayo — who is known for publicly flaunting his wealth — was nabbed over Zesa Holdings deals that saw him pocketing a cool $5 million from the power utility without doing anything on the Gwanda solar project.
Whereas it is a very serious and punishable offence in other countries to engage in activities that prejudice the State of any revenue, in Zimbabwe it appears the trend has been to reward handsomely most of those who loot State coffers.
Scams in the mining sector have been some of the most widely reported in the country.
Community Share Ownership Trust Schemes (CSOTS) in Marange diamond fields seem to have died a natural death after having been launched in style. Proceeds from these schemes must have been looted before they reached their intended recipients and nothing has been recovered while no one has been arrested over the said scandals.
Several other scandals, including some that have come before the courts fizzled out into oblivion while the suspects went scot-free.
Some of these involved high-profile politicians, for instance the $400 000 Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) involving former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo and other officials in the ministry he superintended over at that time.
Most African countries have found corruption as one of the major impediments to economic development, with the leaders of the respective states either not keen to probe these or as willing accomplices in the commission of the transgressions.
Local authorities have been bled dry by greedy council officials often working in cahoots with politicians.
Land barons have been having a free reign in most municipal areas, fleecing unsuspecting home-seekers of their hard-earned cash after promising to give them residential stands.
During the five-year inclusive government between 2009 and 2013, legislators across the political divide looted the Constituency Development Fund that had been put aside by government to develop the different constituencies in the countries.
None of the Members of Parliament were nailed and surprisingly, some have already been canvassing for a return of the facility without accounting for the whereabouts of the first batch of funds.
One of the smartest things Mnangagwa and his lieutenants could ever do for their country would be to ensure the cancer of corruption is done away with once and for all.
This will undoubtedly push Zimbabwe into the development trajectory and may lead to all and sundry getting a share of the national cake.