Buhera South Member of Parliament Joseph Chinotimba said he was offered US$500 to kill the debate on corruption but he failed to trace the anonymous caller.
He said US$500 was a lot of money for someone who did not even own a wheelbarrow and earned US$800 a month.
“I am very much pained because I received a phone call from a private caller who was asking me if I wanted money. He said, if you want money please defend the issue of corruption so that it is not debated in Parliament,” Chinotimba said in his contribution to the motion on good governance and corruption on Thursday.
“I took this private caller’s message to the police to make an inquiry so they could contact the sender of this message, but they said the identity had been hidden. Even the service provider also said they could not assist me because it was not a contract call. So they could not trace the caller.
“My conclusion was that, it is amongst us Members of Parliament, even the person who is appointed by His Excellency is a Member of Parliament. So from my observation, Members of Parliament are corrupt.
“Right now, I agree with the caller that some of you were bribed by this caller so that you may not make contributions on this debate on corruption. You were given US$500 against US$30 million. US$500 was a bribe to make you quiet and avoid this debate on corruption,” Chinotimba said.
He agreed with his Movement for Democratic Change counterparts who moved the motion that corruption was not partisan but urged the opposition to unite on other national issues such as sanctions.
“The unity of purpose, which has been shown by this House in debating this corruption issue shows that Zimbabwe will have a better Parliament than any other Parliaments in the continent of Africa or in the world.
“The problem is that whenever we come to debate issues on developing the country, we let partisan politics divide us, but this is the time we should talk in unison, with one voice, that illegal sanctions should be removed, corruption in our country should be eradicated….
“If we all talk against corruption with one voice, corruption will be nipped in the bud, but if we start castigating each other, then we will not be able to eradicate corruption. Now, we have come to the time when we need to develop Zimbabwe because we need to work together for the development of our country.”
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, for affording me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion. I support Hon. Madzimure for introducing this debate. I do not want to debate at length; I just want to be brief. This is a painful issue and no living individual or Member of Parliament worth his salt would support the continuation of corruption, especially regarding the war veterans.
It pains us a lot that as war veterans, we are living a pauper’s life. We cannot take our children to school and cannot even afford to buy a coffin for our fellow war liberator and yet on the other hand, we have people who are earning US$300 000 per month. It also pains to find that there are some people, bourgeois buying 20 to 30 houses as individuals and yet they are basking in the glory of the sacrifices of the war liberators who were prepared to liberate this country.
Mr. Speaker Sir, you will pardon me for the language I am using. Yes, we know this could be hear-say, but let me say it. I am very much pained because I received a phone call from a private caller who was asking me if I wanted money. He said, if you want money please defend the issue of corruption so that it is not debated in Parliament –[HON.MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –I took this private caller’s message to the police to make an inquiry so they could contact the centre of this message, but they said the identity had been hidden. Even the service provider also said they could not assist me because it was not a contract call. So they could not trace the caller.
My conclusion was that, it is amongst us Members of Parliament, even the person who is appointed by His Excellency is a Member of Parliament. So from my observation, Members of Parliament are corrupt. Right now, I agree with the caller that some of you were bribed by this caller so that you may not make contributions on this debate on corruption. You were given US$500 against US$30 million. US$500 was a bribe to make you quiet and avoid this debate on corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I agree with my colleagues. Corruption does not operate on partisan lines. We know His Excellency, Comrade President also spoke against corruption and therefore, ZANU PF does not want it and no party wants it either. Corruption is an individual state of affair, Mr. Speaker Sir. What we want is that, if somebody is convicted of corruption, that person should be convicted accordingly and punished. If corruption has been discovered, let us not go on rumour mongering.
Talking of these board members, if you look at how these Ministers appoint board members; if I am a Minister who comes from a certain constituency such as Buhera, you will find that the board members will also come from my constituency or my home area –[HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –I am not only talking of present Ministers but this has been the trend since independence, even during the Inclusive Government. You will find that Ministers would appoint board members from people of their relations or constituency. We should condemn corruption and put it to the dustbin where it belongs.
The day before yesterday (Tuesday), I contributed on Petro Trade which is from Mobile, a fuel company. It was changed its name because it used to be called Mobile, but it simply changed to Petro Trade. When we look at this institution, the managers who were in Mobile are the same who are in Petro Trade and the monies are still being siphoned out.
If we look at ZUPCO Transport Company, we find that every year C.E.O’s are changed and no cases are tried. When the C.E.O is removed from office, he is given the package of a vehicle and a golden handshake. –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-
Mr. Speaker Sir, may you please protect me because I did not mention anybody by name. When we look at cases of war veterans, we have no houses. People who did not go to war or who did not make any contribution in the war of liberation are the people who are siphoning the wealth of Zimbabwe yet we are suffering. The likes of Chinotimba are quiet. I do not even own a wheelbarrow and somebody is stupid enough to come to Hon. Chinotimba and offer a bribe of US$500, trying to silence Chinotimba not to speak against corruption. – [HON.MEMBERS: inaudible interjections] –
*MR. SPEAKER: Order, hon. member. I know when you are debating this motion, you become very emotional, but may you please be selective on the words you use, including words like the obscene term ‘shit’, it is an obscene word, please abstain from such words. As the Speaker of this House, may you please withdraw the word ‘shit’ which you used.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I withdraw the word ‘shit’, but I did not insult anybody.
*MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. member, when the Speaker has made a ruling, please do not contest it. So, all we are asking you is to withdraw the four letter word you used. No additions please.
*MR. CHINOTIMBA: I withdraw the four letter word I have used against the corrupt people. Mr. Speaker Sir, I agree with my colleagues when I say that as Members of Parliament, we are not the first to be in this House and we know that when we have called for an investigation in this House, that investigation should be implemented.
From my own point of view, we need to elect a new committee which will make a review of the issues of corruption in parastatals because we find that as we are talking, we are dilly dallying and these parastatals are taking measures to cover up the tracks of this corruption.
Therefore, we need to be swift on this. Mr. Speaker Sir, we were elected by the people to be their representatives in this august House. We are people who are supposed to bring development to these people and if you are not telling the people developmental issues, which they called us to represent them in, they will look at it and think we are birds of the same feather because we are afraid of criticising each other. As a result, we find that because of the greediness in human beings, we have gluttons who are eating even the shares we are supposed to be dividing equally amongst the people of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I become very emotional when it comes to these issues. I thank Hon. Madzimure because of his contribution and I can see that Hon. Madzimure now has a new vision regarding His Excellency the President, Comrade Robert Mugabe. He now sees him as a man of vision, a visionary. I have to praise where praise is worth. He even talked of the heroes in the war of liberation but he belongs to the opposition. He sympathises with the fighters who died in the war.
The unity of purpose, which has been shown by this House in debating this corruption issue shows that Zimbabwe will have a better Parliament than any other Parliaments in the continent of Africa or in the world. The problem is that whenever we come to debate issues on developing the country, we let partisan politics divide us, but this is the time we should talk in unison, with one voice, that illegal sanctions should be removed, corruption in our country should be eradicated.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I feel very emotional. I was very much pained because when we talked about the death of people, and this is something that is coming from the opposition, I literally cried. Corruption does not destroy political parties. If you condemn corruption, your party is not going to be destroyed. When Jesus came into the world, he sacrificed his life so that people would have an everlasting life. People realised his value and greatness after his death and I believe that when we condemn corruption no one is going to kill anybody. We would rather sacrifice that one corrupt, individual than kill the whole nation. I will go over the statement again and plead with Parliament to appoint a committee which is going to investigate corruption in parastatals.
We have been in this place this week and we know that we may not be able to get our coupons so that we can go back to our constituencies because of corrupt individuals. As Members of Parliament, we are earning US$800, but we have people who are earning thousands and thousands of dollars. Corruption is destroying the country. This is not only happening in parastatals but you find that whenever there is a place where some money is going to be distributed or services to be provided, there is corruption going on. When you go to the local authorities and you want to be allocated a stand or a house, you need to bribe someone. If you want to get treatment at a hospital, if you want to be examined by a doctor or health personnel, you need to bribe certain individuals.
As Members of Parliament, we need to stamp out this corruption. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is emotional. This is a sad state of affairs. I know that at times we may go astray in our contributions but the debate on corruption is not going to destroy us as Members of Parliament but when we are debating corruption, let us not debate it on partisan lines but let us condemn corruption as it is so that if we do that, we will be MPs worth representing the people of Zimbabwe. If we all talk against corruption with one voice, corruption will be nipped in the bud, but if we start castigating each other, then we will not be able to eradicate corruption. Now, we have come to the time when we need to develop Zimbabwe because we need to work together for the development of our country.
Let me repeat myself. When we talk about the Cuthbert Dubes of PSMAS and the Muchecheteres at ZBC and all the other institutions, the ministries concerned should not make contributions or try to drive out these committees during investigations. If there is a minister who is going to try and detract or disturb the investigating committees, the President should dethrone that minister. I was very much disturbed when I received a call from an individual asking me to accept a US$500 bribe so, that I do not make a contribution on corruption. I would have said bad things to that person but I know that if I were to do so I would be going against the rules and conditions of this Parliament.
Our President, Cde. R. G. Mugabe is not corrupt and he is the Head of State, every now and then, he speaks against corruption and even the opposition parties have also supported the President on his talk against corruption. Our President is not corrupt and therefore the illegal sanctions against him should be removed. The corrupt people should be the ones who are made to suffer because of their acts.
I would want to thank the Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. I would like to say it in the presence of his Deputy Minister Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira; we are saying they should expose corrupt activities in their parastatals. If they do not do so, they will also be guilty of corruption. With these few words, I thank you.