By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
6 March 2014
Outspoken and controversial ZANU PF MP Themba Mliswa has repeated his call for ministers to declare their assets, if the government is serious in fighting graft and fixing the economy.
Contributing to a parliamentary debate on corruption Mliswa, the legislator for Hurungwe West, said that government should take the bull by the horns and go after those who are corrupt, going as far as questioning where some ministers got their money to buy a bank.
This was in apparent reference to Transport Minister Obert Mpofu, who two years ago bought the then Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group for US$22.8 million to become the major shareholder in the bank. It has since rebranded and it now called Allied Bank.
Mliswa, who is also the chairman of the ZANU PF province for Mashonaland West, suggested that ministers intending to venture into full-time business should resign from government.
‘In an economy like this, it is sad that a minister would actually buy a bank. My plea to the honorable ministers is that when they think about going into business, they must go into business and resign before his Excellency (President Robert Mugabe) and ensure that they do business,’ he said.
The debate on corruption has generated a lot of interest with many MPs from both ZANU PF and the MDC-T pointing out that eradicating corruption will help fix the economy. Others support Mliswa’s call for transparency saying corruption is the biggest problem that Zimbabwe faces and if they can get rid of it, most of the problems bedeviling the country can be resolved.
Economic analyst Luke Zunga said Mliswa’s exasperation is shared by many. He told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the country is gripped by a sense that corruption has never been as bad as it is today and that it is destroying the very foundations of the country’s economic development.
Zunga added that corruption has been deeply ingrained in Zimbabwean society since independence, blaming ZANU PF and President Mugabe for turning a blind eye to the scourge.`
He said Mugabe was more interested in protecting his presidency than anything else, explaining that the ageing leader would crackdown mercilessly on opponents or anyone who challenge his position as president, rather than deal ruthlessly with corrupt officials.
Two years ago, a regional watchdog, Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT), named Mugabe and his wife Grace among the country’s top 56 corrupt individuals.
In a report titled, “Corruption Cases: Lest We Forget: Bad Leadership Examples for Accountability, Transparency and Integrity in Zimbabwe”, the ACT said according to their findings the Mugabes and senior ZANU PF officials have over the years fleeced Zimbabwe of billions of dollars.
‘Instead of Mugabe’s promised clamp-down on corruption, we are seeing a crackdown against those that want to expose it. Parliamentarians are being gagged from debating it while others are filing petitions to stop newspapers reporting on corruption,’ explained Zunga.
He pointed out that the lavish lifestyles of some cabinet members, MPs and those that are politically connected had set the public questioning their sources of income, adding, that an economy overseen by the corrupt and greedy, especially when they hold key positions, is doomed to fail.